Day 20/21: A Day Off and a Return to One of Our Favourite (and Strangest) Venues in All of Deutschla
AVT: 2h (Tot. 61.5h)
ADT: 100 km (Tot. 4,642 km)
"John, eat this. You have to make it even. It's driving me crazy."
"You want me to eat your OCD?"
Yes, I skipped yesterday.
The band took a day off on Monday, so your humble scribe took a day off on Tuesday.
Sorry I didn’t tell you, but I didn’t want to cause a panic – kind of like when the real Paul McCartney died and The Beatles didn’t say anything.
But nobody died and the blog is back today, so all’s well.
What can I tell you about the last couple of days? The day off was necessary and welcome and rejuvenating. It’s not just a mental thing. Playing music is physical. Our bodies aren’t just tired. They actually hurt in some cases. My foot is kind of cooked from playing 19 straight shows. Deni’s arm is giving him grief. Ken turned 44 on Monday and pieces started falling off of him. Sarah feels it too, but she’s done a very professional job of keeping her voice intact for that many shows in a row. There’s a tonne of technique and endurance in what she does. That’s how she manages to sing pretty much every day all year long.
Even so, a rest was welcome.
We still had a drive on our freier Tag, though it was mercifully a short one. We drove from Thalmässing to the city of Fürth – proximal to our impending show in Immeldorf and home of our friends Lexi and Kerstin. The drive was leisurely and serene. A switch gets flipped when it’s time for a day off. You might question whether we use those days to go sight-seeing and be tourists, but the truth is all we want to do is take it easy. Nap. Catch up on socials. Lay low.
I already said that music is physical. Touring is also very social. Well, it can be, anyway. Neil Peart of RUSH famously disappeared into the bus the second the show was over. If you watch the documentary about their last tour, you see him leap off the drum kit and literally run through the underhalls of an arena, trying to get to his precious solitude. That’s an extreme case, but he’s Neil Peart, so he can do whatever he wants.
We spend a lot of time talking to people day in and day out. It’s great. It really is. I mean, who doesn’t love having people tell them how great they are? I’ll take that, but it still demands a lot of energy, especially in a second language. It’s kind of like your first day at a new job every single day. New people, new conversations, new impressions to make. Believe it or not, Sarah aside, we’re introverts in this band. Even Deni, if you can imagine. We’re well outside our comfort zones a lot of the time, and as much as we love it, it’s necessary once in a while to recharge the batteries.
Monday was our day for that. We drove to Kerstin and Lexi’s house for dinner and a birthday celebration for Ken The Zen. They made us some fabulous lasagna (Ken’s favourite) and cheesecake, and we shared another birthday cake that our friend Evi gave us in Thalmässing. It was a fun and filling evening, and we remain very grateful to our friends for hosting us, feeding us, letting us do laundry, and giving us another glimpse of German life. Kerstin has also booked a lot of the shows on this tour. She’s great at it, and if you’re thinking about playing in Germany, she’s a person to talk to.
We were back at it yesterday, but not before returning to Lexi and Kerstin’s place for a fabulous breakfast of eggs and bacon and coffee. The coffee, man. I could use one right now, but the band’s asleep and I’m up early writing away. That’s usually a dangerous thing for me to do. There have been times when I’ve read over things I’ve written pre-coffee and wondered who on Earth wrote it. Total gibberish, like when I was talking to myself in the bathroom at Burger King a few days ago.
We were excited to get back to playing, not just because we love playing, but because we were booked at Weisses Ross in Immeldorf – an awesome and bizarre little room and home of Sarah Smith Euro tour legend Walter. We love playing that joint. I remember the first time we rolled up to it two years ago. It’s like a pub out of the Lord of the Rings. We speculate about its age every time we go there. Nobody has given us an answer, but we’re guessing hundreds of years old. It’s in this tiny, sleepy town. We didn’t even understand that it was a venue. You walk in and there’s a hall and a room with an old bar and tables and chairs. There’s nowhere for a band to set up so we just kind of looked at each and shrugged until Walter took us upstairs to the actual music room.
We continued to look at each other and shrug even when we went upstairs that first year. It’s … eclectic. We didn’t know what to expect, but we set up and hoped for the best. Somehow, by the time we started playing, there were people in the room. Same thing last year. Same thing last night. The place was packed. Where do they come from? Many of our fans were there, of course, but what about these other people? These strangers? What brings them to a show by a bunch of Canadians they’ve never heard of?
I don’t know, but we’re always amazed and grateful that they come. The show was great. Deni did a killer opening set and the band played really well. People loved us. Weisses Ross is one of those places where you set up on the floor. No stage. No separation. The audience was right on top of us, which usually makes for great energy. They were with us from the beginning last night and stayed right to the end of the last encore. Afterward they mobbed Sarah and treated us like rock stars. It always makes me laugh to myself when someone wants my “Autogramm.” I’m happy to provide it, of course, but still ….
Ken, Deni, and I played a fun picture game last night. Weisses Ross is really a strange place. There’s stuff everywhere. Figurines and paintings and sculptures and posters and stuffed birds and other bits of flotsam gathered who knows when by who knows who? So last night we set the challenge to each take ten photos of the place, and then see if any of us took the same picture. I can tell you now that of the 30 photos submitted, there was only one vague cross-over by Ken and Deni. It’s just that kind of place.
So it was an awesome return to the stage in a room we love to play. Our thanks forever to Walter for his incredible curry and generosity. Thanks as well to our fans who came to cheer us on and help us carry things. Thanks finally to the good people of Immeldorf and surrounding environs for yet another fun show at the White Horse.
Until next time ….
* Live photo by Dani Smile.