October 3, 2018
“This is like a Raisin Bran commercial gone awesome.”
And just like that we’re half-way through.
Where has the time gone?
Hamburg, Berlin, Hannover, Eisenach, Oederan, Gotha, Schmölln, Apolda. Monique at the airport. Plastic alligator slide. The hornet. The Mandela Effect. Pangea.
Oh, the places you’ll go.
Which brings us to Immeldorf, Germany, and our return last night to a place that is special to all of us. Last November we rolled into Immeldorf under cover of a falling late afternoon darkness. We weren’t even sure we were in the right place. It’s as tiny a village as you can imagine, but even the tiniest villages have taverns, and the Weisses Ross (the White Horse) seems to have been sitting quietly on its corner for the better part of a millennium.
Inside it was like stepping back in time. Its proprietor, Walter, came squirting around the corner with his quick little footsteps. He almost instantly became one of our favourite guys in Germany. Just a sweet, gentle man. We went upstairs to the music room and had what was for me a monumental show. It was probably the first time on the tour that I really felt locked in with the band. It was a magical night that set the bar high for our show this time around.
Last night pushed it even higher.
But let’s back up just a little bit. The day began again in Furth, where we were treated to a delicious and very welcome breakfast by superfan Kerstin. Eggs. Bacon. Coffee. A little slice of Canada in Germany that was so, so good. Our eternal thanks again to Kerstin and Lexi for taking such good care of us. Last night was our farewell to them for this tour, but only for this tour. We’ll meet again ….
After breakfast we drove. And drove. And drove. Funny thing: Sarah and I just had a little chat about this odd life we live on the road (we’re driving right now as I’m typing). This really isn’t for everyone, you know. Every day another drive. Every day another bed. Every day another place. Every day questions about where we’re going and what’s going to happen. Every day a show somewhere. It takes a certain possibly insane quality to be out here week after week and love it like we do.
Still, it’s not easy. It takes a toll on you mentally and physically, and if you’ve never done this, you have no idea how much we cherish the down time we get, whether it’s in the van or in the hotel. It’s so necessary. We have a super chill vibe in this band. Nobody gets too high or too low, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stress. Driving can be stressful. Getting set up and trying to play a good show can be stressful. The whole thing is particularly demanding for Sarah, who is not only the star of show, but the tour manager. She handles it with a very open heart and a rare grace.
Anyway, we drove to Immeldorf. We were excited to see Walter again and he didn’t disappoint. He was all smiles and welcomes. We lugged our gear up to the second floor and then drove off in search of our B&B – a bit of an odyssey that included a quick and probably illegal detour down a bike path in the big cargo van. Eventually we found the place, though, and it turned out to be a great spot. It even had Wi-Fi. We had an hour or so to relax before we drove back to the venue for another of Walter’s signature curry dishes. Pumpkin with rice this time. The man can cook!
Last year we had an opener from Nurnberg called High Hedgepig. They came back for this show and it was great to see them. They have a bit of a soul vibe and they’re cool people. We soundchecked and then High Hedgepig set up to play. And, just like last time, Walter’s little venue suddenly filled with people from … who knows where? Some of our superfans were there again. To those we added Nicole and Diana of the band Gracefire. They were at the show in Gotha and came out to Immeldorf to hang with us. Also in attendance were former Londoner Simon and his wife Doreen. I’ve never met them, but we have mutual friends.
The show was a blast. There’s an energy in that room that I can’t describe. Something happens when you play there that is magical and beautiful. We played a really strong set, then had singer Melanie and guitarist Sebastian from High Hedgepig come up to play Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” with us. After that, Nicole from Gracefire joined the jam for “Proud Mary.” It’s always fun to bring people up on stage with us like that. We do it a lot and it’s an adventure. The crowd loved it.
When at last the final bows were bowed, we had a great time talking to people. Eventually we sat back down at Walter’s dining table for another round of his pumpkin curry and rice with Nicole, Diana, and Sunny – a table surrounded by beautiful rock stars, including Deni and Ken. Somehow I was there too. They’re all lovely people and, like so many others, have become part of our story. That’s one of music’s great gifts, you know. You go on the road and these people come into your life who you would never meet otherwise. Man, when I think of the people I wouldn’t know if not for music ….
Later I had to climb the long flight of steps to our room at the B&B for a showdown with the old devil insomnia. True confession: I sometimes handle this fight in bizarre ways. For example, I don’t nap very often, but when I put my head down in the afternoon I usually go to sleep pretty easily. It’s one of the things that drives me crazy when I can’t sleep at night. Why can I sleep then but not when I’m supposed to be able to sleep? It’s maddening. One of my strategies is to try to fool myself into thinking I’m taking a nap. I literally sleep in my jeans and a t-shirt. I lay on top of the blankets. I pretend.
Laugh if you like, but it works. I’ve used it to great effect several times on this tour and did again last night. Take that, insomnia!
The descent into madness begins. Or maybe it began long ago, I don’t know.
What I do know is that the sun is shining in Germany today. Our gig in Berlin was cancelled, but we picked up another one in Lippstadt, so we’re on our way. Another drive. Another hotel. Another gig. If you read the November book you’ve seen this sort of sentence before. It repeats itself over time. Over days, over months, over years, over tours.
Another, another, another.
Two more weeks to go.
Sometimes I really do wish I could stop time.