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Drachten


October 8, 2018

"When it comes to rejection, I win the election."

- Ken

Last night Ken dressed up in a cat costume to play a Beatles medley.

It was that kind of show.

We were four or five songs into the set in a tiny, packed out bar in Drachten, Netherlands, when suddenly he took his bass guitar off, stepped into a slightly hidden side of the stage, and began putting on some sort of pink “furry” outfit. I gave Deni a sly, “What is happening right now?” face and he shrugged. Seconds later Ken emerged in full feline, to the cheers of a delighted and bewildered audience.

So yeah, it seems Ken had a happy birthday.

I can’t name all of the superfans – Dutch, German, Austrian, even Canadian – who were at the show last night. The room was full on a late Sunday afternoon, which always amazes me. There was a festive atmosphere in the bar, thanks in part to Ken’s birthday and in part to the spirit of Sarah’s Euro fans. They started the evening with a song of celebration for Ken. Then they cheered for dear Klaske and her band as they opened up the show. Then they cheered for Deni when he followed up with a great set of his stuff. Then they went nuts and sang their hearts out for Sarah and the Glittzerboyz as they always do.

Thanks once again, everyone.

One of Sarah’s gifts for Ken was to let him write the setlist for last night’s gig. It meant a much changed show from the others on the tour so far. We added “All Day We Will Sing,” “Empty Void,” and “Stronger Now,” plus the Beatles medley. I think it was a nice change for fans who have been to a lot of the shows. It was certainly a change of pace for the band. It was cool to play those songs again for the first time in a while. It was also cool to have our old pal Willemina of The Bandits join us for Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” Later we did encores and then had a bit of a party with the fans.

When the party was over, we went with a few of our friends in search of a snack. We found a Dutch snack bar, where I sampled the local Frikandel, which is basically a mystery meat sausage. Served with fries and pindasaus (peanut sauce), or in this case mayo, it’s an exquisitely awful and wonderful post-show snack. It’s really good, and I need to stop eating it (and everything else like it) soon or I’m going to explode. Look, my diet is pretty loose at the best of times, but it’s been well off the rails on this tour. That can happen if you’re not careful. You don’t always have the food choices you prefer, and in a lot of cases when we get fed at venues its fastest and easiest to just order the schnitzel or sausages or whatever.

That said, I could use a vegetable.

Also, I’ve discovered that I love hats. I blame our friend Tanja, who placed her belle of the ball hat (kind of a bowler hat with a veil pinned by a skull) on my head in Lippstadt. She upped the ante in Schermbeck, when she and the striking Heike arrived at our show in a baby blue convertible Mustang. She had in her possession a steampunk top hat that I feel transformed me instantly into a kind of Euro Mick Mars and I really loved it. As my heroes King’s X once sang, now I got me a favourite picture.

I think it’s the universe prodding me. Two of the bands I’m most into these days, Ghost and Steel Panther, are costume bands. Character bands. I love that. Stage presence and appearance have always been important to me, and I like shows that transport you to different worlds. I have tickets to see Ghost in Toronto in December and I can’t wait. Their show is pure spectacle. Steel Panther’s show is pure spectacle in a different way. I can’t define exactly why I like that sort of thing, but you place a cool hat on my head and a switch flips. It’s a bit like Party Boy Deni emerging as the clock strikes midnight – it’s compelling to watch, but no one knows for sure what might happen or what the consequences will be.

Watch for Sarah and the Steampunks live in Europe next year!

Hmmm … next year. Next year. Next year. You do realize this tour is almost over, don’t you? We were talking today in the van about the time warp. How is it possible that three weeks have gone by? It feels like no time at all, but then things that happened last week feel like they happened last year. We were joking about the “Fruhstuck!” lady in Schmölln as if it was three tours ago. It wasn’t. It was eight days ago. It just doesn’t compute. The road is such a weird and wonderful place.

And yet, I feel like I'm running out of insight. I sit down to write these blog posts and I find myself struggling to say something I haven't said before. The truth is the days are all very similar, give or take a detour to do laundry or get yelled at in German. If a tour is going smoothly you settle into a groove where things blow past you at a hundred miles an hour and you hardly notice. I'm trying to notice things for you, but it's harder than it seems.

I was about to write that now is the time to start thinking about what happens when I get back to Canada in a week or so, but maybe it isn’t. Maybe now is the time to just enjoy a quiet afternoon in my room on a well earned day off. The future can wait. These are moments to savour. I talk all the time about this curiously accelerated existence we lead on tour, but when it slows down I think it’s important to breathe it in. That’s what I’ll do now.

I’ll end today by wishing my Canadian friends and family a joyous Thanksgiving. Sitting here now I realize again just how much I have to be thankful for.

Enjoy it, and I’ll see you all again soon.

#SarahSmith #TheRoad #DrachtenNetherlands

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