Prague Spring March 2011
Saturday March 26th, 2011
Another version of the picture above hangs on the wall in my living room at home. I think this time I was in Prague I got a better version (this one) and a better feeling overall of the city itself. I always wanted to go there again and like many others that have gone before me I have now fallen under its spell.
When we got the tour schedule for this run of dates I could not believe that not only were we going to play in Prague, but we had a day off there as well. This run of shows has been some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of being on in a long time. We have for the first time a full bus full of non smokers, that itself an extraordinary feat in the annals of rock touring I would think.. Everyone has been healthy and relatively happy and most importantly the playing seems to be getting better every night. This of course could go the other way being that we are playing the same set almost every night, the full album of IN SEARCH OF…and a few select songs before it from other albums. The routine has actually allowed for some stretching out though, as different parts of the same songs become familiar and comfortable enough to try different things, a new fill here, a different kick pattern or less playing where maybe you thought before there should be more. Every night is also a work out, so I have had a slow ramp up with a lot of after show stretching and cutting down the before show extended warm ups to preserve the energy to make it through the average 18 or 19 song set. Hey, at least I don’t have to sing…
So by the time we actually reached Prague on this schedule we had been through the snows and rain of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, as well as Berlin, Germany and our first ever trip to Poland for a show. A couple of tours ago we actually had spent a Thanksgiving night outside Warsaw at a hotel and although the food was good ( not traditional Thanksgiving seeing as they don’t celebrate it) we all agreed that in the future we would try as much as we could to not be so far from home on holidays. Though this St Patricks Day we would find ourselves in Gothenberg Sweden, and its true that yes, given the chance, EVERYONE is Irish on that day. Or at least they take to the Guiness (Murphys for me, thanks) The Polish audience was super enthusiastic and vocal and made up for any concern about how we might be received. I had not even thought about how well we would go down in Prague, even though we had not played there before either. I was just excited to be there and being that my hotel was right across from the gig, I stole the hours between the sound check and show time away on the hunt with my camera in the fading daylight. I found my new panoramic I-Phone app extremely useful when I kept seeing things with my eyes that I wanted to savor for later but just would not fit in a regular picture format. In other words, too much for the eye to behold.
The day off brought the warmest temperatures yet on this trip. I started the day with an hour-long massage to work out the kinks and knots in my forearms and legs from pounding furiously every night. This put me in great shape to explore the city for about 8 hours on foot with my other band and crew mates in the touring party. Some of us of course were too tired to even leave the hotel, but to me the city has too much to explore in Gothic architecture and rich foods and wines and the weather was of course even more perfect than you could ask for. In other words, rest could wait. So after all the day spent going up and down castle walks and bell towers, sumptuous bridges and narrow alley ways finding new feasts for the eyes I was more than sufficiently exhausted. Much sleeping would then take place and I kept dreaming of scaling up steep hills to breath-taking vistas and drinking and laughing with friends. The only thing that would have made it complete was the Mrs being there, but alas, there will be another time for only us I suppose.
So then it was on to Salzbug. Austria and Geneva ,Switzerland for 2 shows of even greater fury and seemingly more confidant rocking, with the audiences the most demonstrative yet on this run.
Now in Italy where we have just finished the first of 3 shows to a crowd tonight that was literally HEAVING towards the stage and caught Scott Hill at one point in its arms. My only complaint with this country is that the promoters want to take us out to these 3 or 4 course meals 2 to 3 hours before we play (see above pic) and you don’t want to be rude and not eat but then you end up being so full that during the show you have to feel like a slug half of the set. This is the part where I realize I sound like an idiot for mentioning this as if its a bad thing”…waaahhh!!! the drummer is whining because he’s being fed well”…so I will shut up now…and just play.
All Photos By Scott Reeder (except Salzburg pic, by Big John)