November 28, 2017
“I put a blanket over my head and go to sleep. I don’t take anything they offer.”
“Oh, I do. I take it all of it. Give it to me.”
- Sarah and Deni on their approaches to air travel.
What, you thought the tour was over? Ha! You haven’t been paying attention to the semantics. We played the last “official” show two nights ago in Ommen, but I didn’t say anything about the last unofficial show. That we played last night in Germany. It was a private house show and a surprise birthday present from superfan Nici to her husband Mario, aka The Rocketship Man. He had no idea we were going to be there.
It was a fitting end to the tour schedule. Many of our Netherlands and Germany superfans were there, so it became a little party for the diehards. It was a different kind of pressure and a more casual vibe, though we gave it our best as always (a gig is a gig after all). Truth be told, it was one of the best shows of the tour. I know I say that almost every time, but I mean it. It was a celebration. A culmination. A perfect farewell.
I’m not as nostalgic as I once was. I don’t look at this morning – sunny, cold, with our original character Kees driving us back to the airport – as a sad time. We're pros. Tours end. Sarah will be back to Europe, probably sooner than you might expect. Hopefully I’ll be with her.
No, I look at this morning as a morning of triumph. We made it through and, if I do say so myself, we killed it, virus and all. I feel a particular sense of satisfaction as I take one last ride in the back seat, looking out at Holland’s canals and windmills and fields. It’s the sort of feeling that can only come from taking on a challenge and seeing it completed successfully.
Last night was a night of bookends. After the gig we had a rare night drive to our hotel. Along the way, we stopped at McDonald’s – a distinctly North American post-show ritual. Usually McDonald’s is the only place still open after we load out at 2:00 a.m. In Europe late-night food is even tougher to find. Our little snack felt like the beginning of a transition back to Canada. McDonald's is also the first place we ate together.
After Mickey D’s we drove back to the same hotel we stayed in on the first night. Remember the first night? I forgot all about it until we arrived back in Gouda and checked in. Like Deni’s memories of Gramsbergen, the threads began to appear. Walking into the centre of town, dodging bikes and scooters. Deni’s soup. Sarah clutching the GPS like a divining rod. We drove some of those streets again this morning and I was looking for ghosts – Sarah, Ken, and Deni dancing through the shadows four weeks ago.
Now we’re almost back to Amsterdam and the plane and my precious KLM Viking girls. It feels like 28 months since we saw them – one month per day on the road. That’s how we calculate the time warp. As I’m typing, everyone’s laughing, as always. They’re talking about characters. Shows. Memories. We really have been a perfect little tour family. The flight home is our final act together. We’re looking forward to one last hurrah before the spell breaks and we go our separate ways.
A short post today, but that’s the best I can do with the time I have. What I can say in conclusion is that the tour doesn’t end with the last show, official or unofficial. The tour actually ends when we get ….