AVT: 6.5h (Tot. 97h)
ADT: 530 km (Tot. 7,293 km)
“Don’t quote me on that.”
Thank you, Winterswijk. I needed that.
Sometimes the stars just align, man. Sometimes you drive seven hours to a strange new town to play a beer tent gig and you don’t know what to expect and it winds up being amazing.
My conclusion on the morning after: last night was my favourite gig in Europe.
Of all time.
Just magic and a moment. We’ve played some beautiful rooms on this tour. Some cool clubs. Some theatres. Yesterday we rolled up to a tent in the town square in Winterswijk in the rain. Our friend Joost was putting on a little festival beside his hotel and we were booked to headline. We heard music playing and saw some people milling about and that’s about it. It seemed as though it might be just another show.
None of us saw the truth coming.
I can’t remember the last time we could actually cut loose and play on this tour. I mean cut loose and play a big, loud, nasty rock show. I may look all suave and sophisticated and dignified, and I may mess around with shakers and mallets and brushes, but in my heart of hearts I’m a rock drummer. Once in a long while the guy who used to be in Hiroshima Hearts shows up and he did last night. It was loud on stage, it was loud in the audience, and the band had weeks of pent up road grit to release.
That’s the magic and the moment. When the need and the opportunity come together you get something very memorable. I was so tired before we went on. I literally almost fell asleep during my pre-show warm-up. I was sitting on a stool beside the stage, tapping on my knee like I do before most gigs, and my eyes were closed. I was just beat. Just out of it. Sometimes being that tired puts you in a certain mood. Not exactly reckless, but kind of free. When you can go up and play in that state – play hard I mean – you tend to have incredible shows. I think we were all a bit in that state last night and the volume and the crowd energy and the abandon came together.
We had an absolute blast.
We played great. We played loose. We rocked hard. I got to channel Papa Emeritus from Ghost for a couple of minutes when we covered Zombie by The Cranberries. My neck is a bit sore this afternoon from flailing my hair around. I love that. I love it and needed to do it for one blissful night. The audience felt it from us and they loved it too. They danced and sang with us. The called for encores. When it was all over they wanted pictures with the band. It was all just magic.
Thank you, everyone!
After the show we helped Joost tear down the stage and carry gear (shout-out to Joost and his band for their super cool sets, by the way). Sarah and Lesley disappeared in preparation for an early morning airport run and the lads, still buzzing, found themselves looking for a genuine after-party. We found one courtesy of Joost and the restaurant beside the hotel. We gathered with a bunch of new friends to eat and drink and sing and tell stories. It was certainly a highlight night on this tour and I want to thank everyone at that table for their generosity and for welcoming us. We love this about the Dutch people. Every tour we have great parties and celebrations in The Netherlands.
I went to bed far later than such a tired man should, but today is a day off, and as I wrote yesterday, sometimes fun costs you. Today I’m wiped, but so be it. I’ve been able to stroll around this old, beautiful little town and enjoy some fabulous Dutch coffee. Later we’ll meet up with some friends for dinner and we’ll go to bed happy and drowsy and full.
This is what makes it, you know. When the miles get to you, when your hands hurt from playing guitar every night, when you miss your family, when your body is tired, when your mind is exhausted from being “on” all the time, when you’ve gone through town after town after town after town, when you’ve been hungry, when you’re tired of lousy hotel beds, when the Wi-Fi sucks, when you’ve burned down another Italian restaurant, what makes it all okay is one magical show and one terrific party with awesome people.
The road, man.
Election day in Canada. I didn’t get my stuff together back home before we left, so this will be the first federal election I haven’t voted in since I came of age. One of the beautiful things about travelling like this is that it teaches you about your own country. Canada’s a cool place. Actually, Canada’s a freaking cold place. I always appreciate it more when I return home. The other beautiful thing about being over here is that you don’t really get the news from across the pond. I’ve seen Donald Trump’s face one time in a month, passing by some shop where a television was turned on.
Such a wonderful escape.
I haven’t been following the election back home. I know the outcome I hope for, but it’s out of my hands. If someone could throw in a few extra votes for me I’d appreciate it.
Know what? That’s enough for today. It’s a day off and I’m going to take advantage.
Might be time to find another Dutch coffee ….
*Papa Emeritus live photo by Dani Smile.