Search
  • JH

Day 19: The End of Leg 1, Show 19 of 19 in Thalmässing, and an Ode to Ken The Zen On His Birthday


AVT: 3.5h (Tot. 59.5h)

ADT: 300 km (Tot. 4,542 km)

___

"All it takes is a chip and a chair, bud."

- Ken

___

Where on Earth did 19 gigs go?

I’m scratching through my memory and I can pull out maybe six of them. Nineteen nights in a row. It doesn’t feel like it, and yet it really feels like it, if you catch my drift. Part of me doesn’t believe we actually played all of those shows. We just got here, didn’t we?

The tour time warp is real, friends.

Last night we ended the first and longest leg of the tour in the town of Thalmässing, Germany. We played a venue called The Bunker that in some ways comes as advertised. It’s a big, square room in a big, square building with the largest front door any of us has ever seen. I don’t know the history of the building, but it seems to be connected to an old church and it’s very cool.

It was what we in the business call a “listening room.” Very classy. Long, long drapes on the massive windows. Wicker walls. A wine place, as opposed to a beer place, although when I tried to joke my way out of being late to start the second set by telling the crowd, “Ich moeschte noch ein bier,” an audience member quickly brought one to me, so there you go.

Listening rooms are great. It’s where people actually come to listen to the music, as opposed to drink and yell over the music. We had pretty much a full house sitting in chairs for the show. For that much thanks is owed to our friend Evi Stengel, who helped put the show together and made sure her town came out. Evi has a special place in Sarah Euro lore. She took the photo that graces the cover of the November book, and we used a few more of her photos throughout.

I was prepared to not write a blog post today since we finally have a day off, but I wanted to write a formal thank you to Evi, her husband Hans, and their magnificent daughter Meike, who welcomed us for dinner and made us feel so good. We’ve eaten well on this tour, but nothing beats a home-cooked dinner and they gave us one for the ages. Sarah’s fans give so much to us. The Stengels put out turkey and mashed Kartoffeln (potatoes to you anglophiles), vegetables, cauliflower steaks for Sarah, spaetzle. It was all terrific and it was our honour to eat at their table.

Thank you!

The show.

The show.

The show.

It took us a few songs to get the volumes together. It can be really tough to get the sound right in some rooms. You do a sound check when the room is empty, but when people show up things change. Deni was great with his opening set. We … well, we didn’t exactly struggle. That’s not the right word. It was a different vibe than we’re used to after playing so many packed bars and pubs with people crowded all around us. The listening room feel is different. I think it was a bit disorienting at first, but we played well. As always, Sarah pulled the crowd in and by the end of the show they were dancing and singing with us.

After the show some people told me that we were the best band they’d seen in a decade. They said they were amazed that we played so hard for an audience that was initially kind of subdued, like we were in front of 10,000 people. Das freut mich. You know how they say you should dress for the job you want? A band should play for the stage it wants too. That wasn’t a conscious decision by us last night. We love to play and it shows in our playing, whether there are ten people or a thousand people. And we’re professionals. We give our best every time. In fact, I dig harder when the people are quiet. I always want my artist to know I’m with her and sometimes if you dig hard enough, you dig the audience out.

They dug it in the end last night.

After the show we hung around talking to our new fans and friends. They actually left us the keys to the place, so we could have gone full Led Zeppelin if we wanted to. Instead we loaded out and were preparing to close that massive front door, but couldn’t find the switch to shut off the lights in the room we played. We looked everywhere, along with our friends Kerstin and Lexi, but to no avail. What can you do? We shut the drawbridge and went back to the guest house. I’m told that someone went over later and handled the lights.

Back at the hotel we uncorked a bottle of Rotwein to begin birthday celebrations for the great Ken The Zen. The mood was giddy because we were beat and so excited to have a day off today. When the clock struck German midnight the “Happy birthdays” began. They continue this morning as Ken’s big day gets underway for real.

Let me be the first to blog your b-day, KTZ. I’ve said before and will say again that I’ve learned more about being a professional musician from you than from anyone else. It’s my privilege to play with you, pun with you, travel with you, lament fantasy sports with you, talk music with you, roadisode with you, do bad Liverpool accents with you, and ultimately share this incarnation with you.

I hope this day brings you the best of your birthday wishes.

You should know how light it feels in the van today. Dude, our first day off in three weeks. And yeah, we’re driving again and we’re quiet, but the pace is leisurely. The vibe is warm. This morning we had a fabulous breakfast of eggs and bacon and pastries (made by Evi at her bakery) that was an extra special gift from Evi and Frau Waltraud, the proprietor of the guest house we stayed at.

From the bottom of our grateful hearts (and stomachs), thank you.

We’re on the road to Fürth now, where we will take it easy, take it breezy, and dine with friends. I’ll rest my tired foot. We’ll recharge for the next leg. Tomorrow marks the half-way point, somehow. It’s a blur, but a happy blur.

Thanks for taking the ride, meine Freunde.

#SarahSmith #TheRoad #ThalmassingGermany #Tour

© Copyright John Huff 2017-2020