Tour Diary - July 6, 2019
It was nearly 11 am when I got up today. The sun comes up early here and Emily bought me a sleeping mask because my room gets super bright in the morning. I’ve used these on flights before but just regular use is new to me. Tracy and I have curtains that keep our bedroom dark and I like that. I’m missing my bed now too.
Todd and I are on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg tonight, playing an open air stage. We’ve both done this show before. It’s usually populated by lots of bachelor parties and birthday groups, public drunken-ness and random weirdness. Last year I had to kick a guy who was messing with my pedals as he walked by. Last year Todd got off stage and danced with an old woman. The Beatles proved themselves by playing on the Reeperbahn for 2 years from 1960-62. I can’t even imagine what it was like then.
Today is pretty tame. I park in nearly the same parking spot I did last time I was here and Jorg, the soundman is waiting for us. Our combined soundcheck takes about 10 minutes and it sounds great. Jorg definitely knows what he’s doing and he’s funny and just a great guy. And then we technically have 3 hours to kill before we play. An executive decision is made by Jorg and he asks us if we want to start at 7 instead of 8 and that sounds good to us. The wind is whipping thru and the temperature outside is dropping. It’s about 62 degrees (17 C) when we start and in the high 50’s when we finish. It’s not arctic temps but cold enough for singing and strumming outside.
Todd plays first and has a good set, he throws in Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Snake Farm” and I’m the only one in the audience going “Huuuh!” during the chorus.
My set goes by breezy. There’s a birthday party group right in front of me. Then three drunk guys to my left. One of the guys comes up and says “Can I sing ‘Wonderwall’ with you?” I tell him I don’t know it. The other guys protest. “You know ‘Wonderwall’!” “I know the song, I’ve never played it.” They seem dumbfounded by this. The guy who originally asked looks at me and says “thank you.” and is clearly relieved that he doesn’t have to sing. There’s a nice couple that have sat down right in front and they are listening to everything and I even get them singing APB - mind you this is a huge open area and it’s almost like busking because you get people’s attention for as long as it takes for them to walk by. Sometimes they stop, most often they don’t. There’s people way in the back listening and drinking their beer.
I finish up, sell some cds, pack up and we’re ready to get out of there. The crazy is just starting to show up. There’s something going on behind us with two police officers trying to break down a door and get in. They are unsuccessful and eventually give up. There’s a bit of a crowd around. Todd has to pee but there’s nowhere really easy to get to so we decide to stop on the Autobahn as it’ll be almost as long a wait for that and then we get in the car, take a turn, are about to go thru the green light when a woman crosses in front of us by the St. Pauli bar.The car jerks forward like the transmission jumped or something. I look in the rear view. That police car is really close to us. Wait a minute - that police car hit us!
We are fine, he is fine, there’s a scratch on the rental car about 4 inches long and about as wide as a Sharpie marker.
The police officer is super embarrassed and people are hooting and hollering from the street, there are a ton of people on this street and they are taking pictures and laughing. I feel really bad for him. In all of this he is super nice, he’s admitted fault all that stuff. We get down on our hands and knees and start looking at the “damage”.
He calls it in and comes back. “Procedure. I have to have police from another precinct investigate.” I quoted that like it’s what he said. I don’t remember what he said but that’s the jist of it. I tell him I understand and we are now stuck here waiting for the police to arrive to investigate a police car hitting us.
Todd is dancing around. He still has to pee. I tell the officer and he says that he can’t leave, he has to give a statement. Todd’s like “I’ll be right back, I just have to pee.” With that officer says he’ll call the police station and let him pee there - the police station is about 50 feet away from where we are.
I get out my license, my international driver’s license and my passport so I’m ready. Another police car has stopped nearby and two officers get out and make our way towards us. Officer Meyer is female and a bit taller than me and she’s taking down all the information. I will get a case number for Hertz and as far as I know that will be the end of it. The officers are very nice and polite and I’m feeling like this is all coming to an end and I won’t have any momento of the event and I see the Polizei patch on her arm.
“My Dad was a police officer in the states.”
“Mmm-hmmm.” she says.
“He collected patches, do you collect police patches?”
Her eyes get wide. “I collect patches.” and she starts trying to pull her patch off her arm. When the velcro won’t let go she turns to her partner and tells him to hold the sleeve and she pulls off her Polizei patch for me. “Will you send me a patch?”
“Of course I will.”
And she writes down her home address on a business card for me to send a patch. Todd is just watching all this with his mouth half open.
I get my case number and we leave.
Todd says he still has to go to the bathroom. “What happened?”
“I went to the police station and there was a lot of people in there having a bad day. I told the officer I was there to use the bathroom and how the officer out here said I could and he pretty much kicked me out. He was a big Scandanavian looking dude that was not having any of it.”
“But did you find another place?”
“I went across the street to the St. Pauli and asked if they had a toilet I could use and she tried to usher me upstairs to one of working girls’ rooms and I said ‘No, I have to pee.’ and then she said ‘You want an orgasm?’ and I said ‘No, I have to pee’.”
After all that Todd still had to pee.
We laughed as we left the Reeperbahn and made our way to a gas station on the Autobahn so he could pee.
All in all a pretty fun night.
Oh, and I may have fixed my guitar by flipping the piezo element around. I don't know how that would do anything to fix it but it sounds better now.