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Day 6: Ken Stops the Show and Schimmi Cries in Wiesbaden, Germany


AVT: 1.5h (Tot: 24h, 45 min)

ADT: 140 km (Tot. 2,063 km)

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“I think she was couple pans short of a pan … kitchen … kitchen pan set.”

- Deni

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We were about half-way through Girl Crush when it happened.

I heard it first. Ken’s phone was on an amp beside the drum kit. We reached a tender moment in a tender song and suddenly there it was: the “plog” ring we’ve all come to love on this tour.

I told you about Ken’s plog.

Every 90 minutes his alarm goes off and he takes a photo of whatever’s in proximity. I think it’s a brilliant way to journal the tour. It’s certainly less labour-intensive than my method. Earlier in the show Sarah told the crowd about Ken’s project and made them understand what it was all about, which produced a fun moment when the alarm went off. Sarah stopped mid-song and the audience looked bewildered until it slowly became quiet enough for everyone to hear the alarm. Then there was a burst of laughter and applause as Ken sheepishly reached for the phone.

Here’s what he saw:

It was that kind of night. Now, Ken will be the first and I the second to say that he would never have his phone on during a show under normal circumstances. Never, never, never. But his plog is becoming a thing and everyone loves it, so he grudgingly allows the thing to ring if it rings. I’m not sure he will continue to do that. I guess you’ll have to follow along to find out.

But yes, it was that kind of night. I’ve written before that playing a big show for a big crowd is great, but so is playing a smaller show for a smaller crowd in a smaller room. Last night we played an awesome little joint called Der Weinlaender that is mostly a wine bar and restaurant. It was one of those rooms where you set up on the floor and people sit at tables to drink wine and listen. The place was absolutely packed on a Monday night, and a packed house is a packed house no matter how big it is.

We had a table of our German friends in attendance, but otherwise it was a room full of strangers and, as ever, Sarah won them over with her charm and voice and energy. It’s interesting playing a room like that as the drummer. Volume is so delicate under those circumstances. So is space. I went with a simple kick/snare set-up, which is still my favourite set-up to play. It’s compact, it’s basic, and it forces you to think hard about your parts. There are a lot of missing pieces in a set-up like that. We covered U2’s With Or Without You and I had no floor tom to ride. You have be a bit creative in those circumstances to catch the vibe, express the emotions, and deliver a song with very limited tools.

Honestly, I’d play kick/snare every night in every band if I could. I love it. I really do. love the simplicity of it. The honesty of it. The not-having-to-carry-all-the-other-drums of it.

So it was a genuinely wonderful night in Wiesbaden. The show was really, really good, and Frank and Lisa at Der Weinlaender treated us so well. Man, the salads they made for us (not to mention the butter chicken) were delicious and so timely. We’ve been lamenting the lack of vegetables in our lives since we got here and that dinner hit the spot perfectly. We’re so grateful to venues that look after us like that. I wrote yesterday that road life can be stressful. One of the antidotes to that is being welcomed and nurtured by venues and audiences that are glad to see us.

We’ve even made superfan Schimmi tear up once or twice. How are you going to top that?

Oh, Ken’s plog alarm just went off under sensitive circumstances. That photo should be interesting ….

Yes, the tour time warp. I mentioned it yesterday and it became apparent to us again this morning. We were walking back to our hotel from breakfast and realized that we flew from Canada a week ago today.

One week!

It honestly feels like a month ago. I’m not exaggerating. Tour life is so accelerated. You have no choice but to live in the moment. You don’t have the luxury – perhaps the curse – of looking forward when you’re on the road. There is only now. People ask us where we are tomorrow or sometime next week and our faces go blank. We have no idea. Keine ahnung. We have the plan for today and we execute it, driving into a peculiar unknown and preparing ourselves for anything.

You’re always doing something on the road, even when you’re not doing something. You’re driving somewhere. You’re getting dinner. You’re setting up. You’re playing. You’re tearing down. You’re going back to your billet. You’re sleeping. You’re waking up to figure out today’s plan. Then you’re driving somewhere, etc. It’s all very immediate. You don’t have time to reflect, and so time seems to shift behind you like the wake behind a boat. Then one day look back and the dock you just left is barely visible in the distance.

I’ve written more eloquently about this in the past.

Another word in closing about European band houses. Man, when you find out you’re staying in the band house in Canada your heart sinks. Probably you’ve heard the horror stories about filth, insects … discolourations. Those stories are real. It’s like Led Zeppelin stayed everywhere and nobody bothered to clean up for the next 40 years. The first time we heard the term “band house” in Europe was in Vienna two years ago. We braced for it. Eurostains. When they took us upstairs to show us our accommodations we opened the door to a gorgeous apartment suite that would have been a magnificent hotel.

What did Sarah say about leaving expectations at the door?

So it was in Wiesbaden last night. We had a beautiful little apartment with big windows and high ceilings. They had a couple of beds in kind of a loft (“Hey Deni, want to join the 12-foot-high club?”). Cool furniture. Natural light. What luxury. Wiesbaden is a cool city. Someone at the show last night was complaining about how boring it is there, but we loved it for the few hours we were there. Those old, old buildings. The vintage architecture. The tree-lined streets. We aren’t playing a lot of big cities this time around. It was fun to be in that energy for a day.

Shout-out to our new friends at Donor restaurant for a fabulous lunch of donairs and salad as well!

And now we drive again. A somewhat congested highway, the Lord’s Prayer, and a fresh foray into the unknown.

See you on the other side.

#Tour #WiesbadenGermany #sarahSmith

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