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  • Writer's pictureJH

Day 15: The Band Rocks Piano Livemusiclocation and We Welcome a Special Guest in Sömmerda, Germany

AVT: 1.5h (Tot. 51h)

ADT: 100 km (Tot. 3,850 km)


“Ken, you should take a picture of your wine stain.”

“There’s no passing the buck here. It’s our wine stain.”

- Deni, Ken


Okay, this is the second attempt at today’s blog post.

I wrote another post a few hours ago at our hotel before I’d had a cup of coffee and it was gibberish. I can’t publish it (believe it or not, even I have professional standards). We’ve just come from a quick brunch of coffee and homemade sausages at Piano Livemusiclocation in Sömmerda, Germany, where we played to a packed house last night, and my thoughts are more coherent now.

The coffee, man.

The coffee.

My earlier post was tough because there just wasn’t a lot to say. Yesterday was as typical a road day as I’ve ever experienced. We got up for hotel breakfast in Suhl, checked out, drove to Sömmerda, loaded in to the club, did a sound check, ate, checked in to the new accommodations, chilled, went back to the club, played a show.

That’s about a 60-word blog post, really. That’s what touring tends to be: a blur of 60-word blog posts that all say fundamentally the same thing. Once in a while Ken The Zen provokes a mystery beast behind a locked hotel room door, but otherwise it’s the drive-eat-play routine. Sometimes you struggle to make that a day worth reading about.

We’re rediscovering just how much we love what used to be East Germany. I feel like that’s a politically incorrect name for this part of the world now. It’s not East Germany anymore. It’s the eastern part of Germany and it’s really great here. Specifically the people. I don’t know. I think we stereotype people here as being kind of stoic and humourless – our lingering impression of the Soviet Union’s lingering impression on this place.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

People here have always been so warm and generous to us. Last night we played a tiny club called Piano Live and it was full of people who were laughing, celebrating, living life. We saw the same sort of people in Suhl two nights ago. They love live music. They welcome the performers. They want to talk to us, even if they don’t speak a lot of English. We’ve developed a genuine affection for the east. The scenery is magnificent. It definitely feels much more like a foreign country than the west and we love it.

One guy even wanted an autographed drum stick.

Like, autographed by me.

Will wonders never cease?

And I have to give a shout-out to Sarah, whose Deutsch is really coming along and serving us very well along the way. Ja, ich lerne Deutsch as well, but she’s years ahead of me and it shows. (Now don’t tell her I said that or she’ll get all cocky about it. Hi Sarah. We love you.)

Piano Livemusiclocation is another of these pub-style venues. It’s owned by one of our new favourite road guys: Chaba – a generous, smiling Hungarian in Germany who has been hosting live music there for something like 20 years. What a great guy. Sometimes you meet a guy for the first time and you can just tell by his eyes that he has a good heart. A good spirit. Those are the people you want to work with in this business. Chaba took great care of us, including preparing an authentic Hungarian goulash with spaetzle for lunch. We continue to eat so well on this tour!

We really do love playing these small stages in packed rooms. The show was sold out, and the audience was with us from the first chord of Deni’s opening set to the last echo of our second encore. We were joined for that encore – Proud Mary – by something of a German celebrity called Katja Wiegand, who went deep on The Voice Germany. She’s a fabulous and vivacious singer who, it turns out, is also a Sarah fan. Early in the show I noticed her in the audience singing along to a bunch of Sarah’s songs and I wondered who she could be. We brought her up for first to sing Shine Bright with us and it was terrific. Apparently she and her band play that song, as well as I Need To Know. I can only imagine how gratifying it is for Sarah to know that people in other parts of the world are covering her songs.

The rest of the show was great, for the most part. It can be unnerving to have people so close to you when you play. The stage had a railing around one side, where Ken and I were set up. I suppose he’s more used to that kind of close, personal contact than I am. He just smiles and plays. At one point a couple of jangles shook loose from my hi-hat tambourine and one of them landed on top of a hi-hat cymbal. A guy just reached over and took it off for me.

Yeah, close quarters.

After the show we hung with the people, talking and signing things and pretending to be rock stars. Chaba brought out a delicious post-gig snack called … something. I can’t remember the name, but it’s fried bread and cheese and sour cream and it was awesome. Later we returned to billets and enjoyed what we didn’t spill on the floor from a bottle of wine that Chaba gave us. We didn’t have to leave our rooms until almost 2:00 today, so we stayed in bed as long as we could. Once again, Deep Coma Deni slept like a freakin’ stone and even I managed to catch up on my sleep a bit.

And now we’re in the van drifting through an afternoon that looks like the cover of Megadeth’s Youthanasia album. There are wide, wide views all around us and I can feel a familiar tickle in my chest. I know this now as the first, faint hint of transformation happening inside me. I suspect Ken and Deni are feeling the tickle as well, because we’re just minutes from today’s destination: the Schorschl bar in beautiful Eisenach, Germany.

Birthplace of Sarah and The Glitterboyz.

*Cover photo by Isabel Smile.

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