Thoughts on the last week, random and otherwise….
Starting in Paris, feeling now properly entrenched in the Europe and all its ways. Sleep patterns and continental eating habits in place, which really just means even better variations on the ham and cheese theme. What has become a ritual visit down the street from Venue Le Maroquinerie to Cimetiere du pere Lachaise to pay homage to Wilde, Piaf, Chopin and Morrison. Stopping to have wine and a rest at a corner neighborhood café to watch the traffic and people of Paris go about their day. And being thankful to feel safe in the city of light, a feeling I’m sure that is not lost on all who live here. And to be part of that tonight with a blinding show of force and rock, the Parisians being the loudest and the best of this trip so far. Everyone is hospitable and gracious. And time before the show with old friends and new for a toast and plans to return, which makes leaving that night much more bittersweet.
Switzerland brings the first actual glimpse of real Fall weather by the lake in Zurich, a city dripping in money it seems and everything a bit too ostentatious (wow, big word) for me to venture out. I decided having been here and taken part in the beauty and high life many times before to stop and catch up on emails and friends back home…and to make sure of course that my dogs actually miss me. Geneva was about the same routine save for an early day walk around the city until the wind started to blow off the mountains and I retreated for the warmth of the dressing room. During the first song of the set, the side door too the stage blew open and in roared the night-time gales, and Jon rushed to close it. By the end of the set we were wishing it was still open as it turned out to be another sell out crowd and the hottest show onstage of the tour so far.
Next day off was in Munich and Bob, Brad, Kevin and I walked from our bus camp past the now closed Oktoberfest grounds being dismantled. Having just missed it by a few days and being lucky enough to have attended 2 years earlier, we lamented our bad timing but consoled ourselves later with a huge feast at Hofbrauhaus Munich. We have had many times over in this fine establishment, and while many see it as a tourist trap, I still am able to find the charm in its blunt staff, who encourage us to hurry up and finish so they can turn the tables for more people. Which is hard to do when you are looking at 2 full steins of beer. We had a long crawl back to the bus for a double feature of Inglorious Basterds (highly appropriate) and Dumb and Dumber Too. Which in this reviewer’s opinion is way better than the first Dumb and Dumber, but again just my opinion.
The next days show day was much needed after carb loading up to my eyeballs. As I took a walk around the neighborhood I was not really paying attention to where I was going and ended up lost, which is rare, so I had to circle a block long apartment complex a couple of times to find my bearings. Direction found, I strode back to the venue for sound check, only to suddenly be approached by 2 of Munich’s finest for questioning. The first odd question was literally “Have you tried marijuana?” to which I could only reply “do you mean today?” Yes that is what they wanted to know, and if I had “any other drugs” on my person. Maybe it was my California ID that set them off. They then asked what was in my pockets and I think I said “coins and lint” so they wanted to make sure .I raised my hands so they could search me. One of them kindly reminded me I was not a criminal so I could put my hands down. Having not been subject to anything like this for at least more than…well….I cant remember how long or if ever…I didn’t really know how to react but kindly and with yes sir, no sir answers. After I showed them the show poster for the nights gig and my web site they were satisfied that I was who I said I was. I walked away feeling relieved but odd, as I hadn’t done anything. Later Wolfgang, our promoters rep, told me it was not legal for them to do that to me, but what was I going to say? I wasn’t about to argue or protest being in a foreign county. Possibly because of this experience, I was a bit rattled and it seemed to carry over that night into the show, where I could never quite get comfortable on stage. A strange blight on an otherwise great stay in Munich
And then Berlin…..
So much has happened and so much history has transpired in that great city I am surprised its still standing and that its people are so resilient. I remember walking on the other side of the Brandenburg Gate in 1991 past buildings that were still strewn with bullet holes in what was until a year ealier communist East Germany. Now that same street is full of Starbucks and Rolex stores. And a Russian embassy where there are still guards standing with bulges in the chests of their overcoats. Perhaps keeping more than just foot in the door. History that is constantly evolving, and revolving, around you. Today was also the day we switched sound-men from Kevin to our old friend Gabe Anel, who rescued us on tour in 2004 in New Jersey when our then tour manager took “ill”. Gabe ended up working with us for the next 5 years until he decided to get off the road, being more than a bit burned out and ready for a change. So Kevin was leaving for a gig in Las Vegas by way of Copenhagen that he could not miss. Before the show, Jon, Gabe, Brad and myself decided to walk around the old Berlin Tempelhof Airport and airfield across the street. Sight of the Berlin air-lift, an old US army base and now a great park with bike trails and kite fliers, the sheer size of it was daunting but we made it all the way around in the gathering grey cold. Back to (literally) warm up and blast a playlist of Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy before the show. Sound and Vision. Forever. With all this in mixture we stormed the stage and Berlin gave us the longest set of the tour so far. They sounded so good and we just wanted to keep playing because it felt so good. So we did! After the show, I met a girl who had flown all the way from Israel to see us that night. I had noticed her down front on the barricade the entire night with 3 other girls that braved the crush the entire show. Insane to think people travel that far and put up with that much just because they love your music. And also feeling very grateful .We are now half way in…2 weeks and 10 shows to go….no better time then to give you “part duex” of the “Drum Lessons From The Road 2016″series.