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  • Writer's pictureJH

Day 24: Sarah Rocks Gdanska and the Canadian Werewolves Are Unleashed in Oberhausen

AVT: 5.5h (Tot. 69h)

ADT: 465 km (Tot. 5,207 km)


"There's a barber shop over there. I should go get a buzz."

- Deni

"There's a bakery beside it. I should go get a buzz too."

- John


Yesterday we ….

We ….

Uh ….

What happened yesterday?

You have moments like this on the road a lot. Moments when you simply can’t remember the day before. I was searching my memory just now as we roll down yet another highway to yet another town. The show I remember. It was great and I’ll talk about it in a bit.

Before the show?


I was trying to picture a hotel and I had to sort through a few before I hit on the one we stayed at in Fürth. When you can get your hotel bearings, you can visualize the day in pieces. Breakfast at the hotel ... no, I’m thinking of a different hotel. There were Americans in the dining room and it felt weird to hear people speaking English. That was two hotels ago.

Hotel breakfast yesterday ….

Nope, not that one. Last week.

Anyway, we loaded up the van for a drive from Fürth to Oberhausen, where we’ve never played before. The city is fairly centrally located for a lot of Sarah’s German fans, so we expected a full house. The venue, Gdanska, is a Polish restaurant by day and club by night. Nice stage. Nice backstage area. Cool lights. We were looking at it as something of a hometown show since so many friends would be there.

We stayed in awesome guest rooms above the venue. As I’ve said before, when you hear you’re staying in the band room in Canada you dig out your roach spray and penicillin. Over here you wind up in an old, old room with high ceilings and wood floors and a writing desk and windows. Super classy and very comfortable. Reminiscent in some ways of Vienna two years ago.

We arrived in the afternoon and set up the gear and did most of a sound check before they brought out dinner – perogies and sausages and sauerkraut. It was all delicious and really hit the spot. After dinner we finished sound check and then had maybe an hour to get ready for the show. We went back up to our rooms to make ourselves presentable and then returned to the packed house we expected. So many familiar faces. Even our friend Conny was there via a phone set on a table up front.

Deni went on first and was great as always. It might be a tad self-serving to say so, but if you ever have a chance to see Deni with the full band, do it (especially if yours truly happens to be playing drums). His new record is something of a departure from his earlier stuff. More indie rock than gentle folk, but with all of his signatures. The tunes smoke live with a full band. Maybe one day some version of that will appear in Europe. Time will tell I guess.

We had another really fun show. The band is playing very well these days. It took us a handful of shows to gel again, and a few more after that to get comfortable with Sarah’s new songs. We’re in a good groove now and I think it shows in the positive responses we’re getting from our audiences. We expect that from our regular fans, but it’s the new people that are the true indicator of how well we’re doing. I’ve been talking to people at shows and we’re leaving an impression. It’s fun to see and gratifying for Sarah I'm sure.

After the show we hung out as always until it became clear that the werewolves wanted loose. We were hungry. We wanted to see something. Go somewhere. Explore. Ken, Deni, and I decided to go look for some Essen, but the problem in this part of the world is that late-night food is hard to find. And by late-night I mean 11:00 p.m. Can you imagine? We’re downtownish in a relatively large city, but the place is a ghost town. Everything closed. Someone said our best bet was the local Bahnhof (train station), so we wandered out into the darkness to find what we might find.

The first thing we found was a park with a teeter-totter and Deni insisted that we play on it for a few minutes.

The werewolves, man.

The werewolves.

We wandered a few blocks further, stomachs growling, and turned a corner. And behold, a great light shone all around us, as before our weary eyes appeared a good, old fashioned street meat tent that was actually open. Donair baguettes, frikadelle, currywurst with fries, oh my! A feast fit for three dudes who will be sweating out schnitzel for months.

As we were walking back to the venue, some dude heard us speaking English and shouted out to us, asking where we’re from. Then he came over to us and started in hard about … I’m not even sure what he was talking about. We gather he’s Moroccan and he likes to smoke, which led to an enthusiastic but entertaining story about running from the German police in possession of the Devil’s weed, being caught via some kind of citizen’s arrest, and facing The Law in Deutschland.

You never know if a guy like that is planning to walk all the way back to your hotel with you or not. And if he is, what he thinks might happen when we get there. Fortunately, there were no awkward good-byes. We reached a corner and he veered right and disappeared into the night. Another character who pops in and out of your story in a heartbeat but becomes a memory.

Anna at the bar in Vienna.

The Frushtick lady.

Ryo the ramen king at the airport in Amsterdam.

The Moroccan guy in Oberhausen.

These are the memories that we take home with us. Shows and drives and hotels blur together, but it’s these compelling strangers – these bolts of lightning – that leave a lasting mark.

Rees, Germany tonight for a Saturday special.

The werewolves are coming.

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