Tour Diary - June 24, 2019
This is my 5th time playing on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg and never the same place twice. I remember one place wanted us to stand on the bar. Another time it was during a beer festival and I had to kick someone’s hand away from my pedals. Today is a low key Monday evening show.
The bartender is super nice - “I love your music, I’ve been driving my boyfriend crazy by listening to it all week online.” So that’s really nice. There’s 4 dogs sitting on the patio where I’m playing, not one of them on a leash but they’re all super chill. The bartender tells me about her how she has family in the states but won’t go visit them until trump is no longer president. “How do people still support him?” I honestly don’t know. We talk a little politics and how it is literally nazi policies and action that he is doing and she says “It’s like no one learned from German history.” “We have our own problems here and it’s just as dumb but here they’re not allowed to wave around a nazi flag.”
I set up my PA and prepare for playing. The bartender says to me “I don’t know why they booked you on a Monday, Mondays are dead here. I don’t know if we’ll have anyone show up.”
These tours keep you honest and by that I mean, there’s no chance for you to get too full of yourself. You might have a great show or a run of great shows one week but then the next week you’ll have something that reminds you that you ain’t all that and a bag of pommes.
I start playing at 8 pm, it’s really nice overlooking the Reeperbahn and the three people there (2 workers and 1 neighbor that is watching the owner’s dogs) are outnumbered by the 4 dogs sleeping in front of me.
This is rough.
But I’m booked to play, so I kind of feel it out. “Do you want to hear music or would you rather just talk and I’ll go home?” “No, no, please play. But if you don’t want to, we understand.”
So I play for about 20 minutes and two of the folks talk through all of it and they are literally and arms length away. It’s way too demoralizing to continue so I tell them I’m going to call it. I put my guitar down, turn around and there’s a guy that has come to see me play a few times in the past.
“Sorry I’m late, the newspaper said you were playing down there.” and he points to the empty stage in the beer garden. There’s not too many people around that stage but it is out in the open, I’m on the second floor balcony bar.
“Have you started yet? I want to get your new cd.”
I pick my guitar back up and he gets pretty much a private show. He buys the new cd (he already has my last two) asks questions about Tracy and Ben. I play a song, he tells me some stuff, I play a song vaguely connected to what we just talked about, he asks me some questions, I play a song vaguely connected to the question and so on for a little over an hour.
“Have you ever heard of Kacey Musgraves?” He asks me. Of course, here’s her song “Merry go round.” “Are you playing with Ben at all?” “I’m not but here’s a Riddle & The Stars song.”
The dogs don’t move during any of this. There was one song that I made a loud hand squeak on the strings and one of the dogs jerked his head up and stared at me and that was the most dog interaction I had all night.
The guy is on his way to see a couple of punk bands at 10 pm, I finish a little before then, he thanks me, gives me a hug and leaves.
I make my fans the old fashioned way ~ one at a time.
As a touring strategy I think that strategy is unsustainable. I chuckle at the idea of being a door to door songwriter. “Excuse me Ma’am, do you have a moment to discuss the songwriting of my personal savior Bruce Springsteen?” What would I put on the pamphlets? I have to think on this some more.