June 5, 2018
The show is over.
The encores are played. The bows are bowed. These lovely people have cheered for us and asked for even more. I’m on the stage alone, packing up my drums, calculating and re-calculating to be sure I have everything. This isn’t Fitzrays in London. There’s no coming back tomorrow for anything left behind.
I hear a burst of familiar laughter and I smile. Ken and Deni charming the fans. I look up and there they are. Their beards. Their toques. They clink their bottles together, making sure to look each other in the eye as they do. This has become our custom. I have a lot to do, but I take a moment to enjoy this picture. Ken and Deni. The people. And then in the distance I see Sarah at the merch table, signing yet another autograph, smiling for yet another picture. Her smile is genuine, and that’s what it’s really all about.
Why do we do this? In the end it’s about love. Not just the love we have for playing, but the love that surrounds this experience. Sarah brings love to people through her music. Through her energy. They bring love back to us too. It’s about service. We serve people when we play. They serve us when they listen. As Sarah’s song says, it all comes back.
And then it’s back to packing up my drums. Another show. Another ritual. Another memory to put in its place.
Yes, that’s an excerpt from November: A Month in Europe With Sarah Smith – my Euro tour blog in book form (edited and with extras), which was released last Friday. That little vignette still stands out as one of my favourite memories from the tour, and I present it now because I had a flashback to it at what turned out to be the book launch event.
It’s got me thinking.
We released the book as part of a joint birthday bash and show for Sarah and Deni Gauthier, who was on the Euro tour as Sarah’s lead guitarist. It was at The Back Alley in St. Thomas and there were loads of Sarah fans there, including our beautiful friends Jikke, Klaske, and Tjitske, all of whom are part of the Sarah superfan group from The Netherlands. They were visiting Canada and it was their last night in the country before flying home.
As I stood at the back of the room watching Sarah play, I was suddenly struck by the most powerful sense of déjà vu. There were our Netherlands people. There was Deni dancing near the stage. There was Sarah’s bass player Ken the Zen. It was like we’d been beamed through time, back to all of those stages and crowds and rooms in Europe. It was a special feeling and I was filled with the warmest affection for all of them. I hadn’t seen Deni since we got back from the tour. Later the Euro band got up and performed together for the first time in six months and it was magic.
Watching all of them laugh and dance reminded me just how important people are. Your people, I mean. The ones closest to you. The ones you care about. It’s easy to take them for granted sometimes when you’re up to your eyeballs in your own stuff. It’s also easy to be blindsided by how fast time can go by. Deni and I were roommates for a month straight, and then suddenly six months went by. How quickly that can turn into a year or five years or ten years.
I feel antsy about getting older these days. I’m in my forties now and a funny thing starts to happen when you reach that age: you begin to realize you don’t have as much time as you used to. You know that objectively in your twenties and thirties, but I think it really starts to hit home when … well, when you see the grey hairs and your bench press isn’t what it used to be. Sometimes I wish I was younger, at least until I realize that if I wasn’t here right now, in this time and at this age, I wouldn’t know so many of the people that I do. I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of going through life with them as I have.
That is such a comforting thought.
So this week’s message is simply to enjoy the people in your life. Go for coffee with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Gather up your peeps and go to a show. Send someone a Facebook message. Next time the crew gets together, take a subtle step back and just look around you. Note the faces and listen to the laughter. Make a memory. Think about how lucky you are to be here, in this time, with those people. And then remember that you’re one of those people to them, too. That’s an honour all on its own.
Let’s try our best to be worthy of it.