Tour Diary - June 25, 2019
Set my alarm this morning for 9 am so I could be at rehearsal by 10 am. Sam and Niklas are two fantastic musicians that for some reason enjoy slumming around with me when I’m in Germany. Sam plays bass and sings a bit and Niklas is on the drums. We have two hours to rehearse today and I’m not sure how many songs we played together but they all sounded great. We have that great combination of loose but tight that’s so hard to manufacture unless it’s natural. Nik and Sam keep it tight and I’m loose on top. Perfect.
One rehearsal should be enough for the few festivals we have together. We even had a go at “Virginia Plain” and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t pretty great. I mean, it’s a fun song to play and we enjoy it but I know it’s going to go over like a fart because no one in the audience will know it.*
It felt good to play my telecaster and Niklas had a big Fender tube amp for me to plug into so that was groovy. We played a few new songs from The Red Wheelbarrow and these dudes are pros. So much fun. We’ll be rocking at Haus am Walde on Saturday and then more after that.
Then it’s back to the flat, eat some lunch and work on making the instrumental tracks of the new album for potential use in tv or movies** and last bits of paperwork still. I finally got the barcode to my graphics person so we can make more cds. The cds I have with me do not have a barcode so they will be the collector items one day.***
And before you know it - it’s time to go to the show.
Tonight we’re back in Bremen in the backyard/courtyard of this restaurant/bar that’s right near the S&W office. That’s not exactly right. It’s not *near* the office. The office is above this restaurant/bar. You could not have a gig any closer to the office.
There’s big umbrellas shading us from the sun and a bit of breeze coming from the river which isn’t that far away. Oh did I mention that it became summer here today? So hot and humid. How hot and humid is it? It’s so humid that my bones hurt.****
Setting up a show like this you always have that bit of a feeling of “I hope people come, it doesn’t look like a place that would have a show.” And before you know it - people do come. Faces I know and faces I don’t.
Emily and Tori opt to go first and I have to tell you, I’ve seen them play a bunch of times now - tonight they were on fire. A fantastic crowd will do that for you as well. There’s so much positive energy swirling around and when they get to their last song the folks here won’t let them go without one more song.
Emily and I have been talking and getting to know each other this week and our Dads came up in conversation. Emily lost her Dad to dementia as well and today is my Dad’s anniversary. So we had that driving us a little bit. She ends her set with “Old Man” by Neil Young and it’s beautiful, amazing and poignant. Tori dug down and was sawing away at her violin and it was incredible.
I’ve been trying to think of what I was going to play and what I was going to say today and I just didn’t know. I was thinking about my Dad and so I told a couple of stories about him and connected a few things with songs. I told about how when I first started playing guitar (and was terrible) we’d rehearse in my parent’s basement and sometimes when the din got too much to bear he’d stand at the top of the stairs and flick the lights on and off to get our attention and when we’d stop he’d yell “Play the guitars with the holes in them!” And that was our cue to put down electric guitars and go acoustic. And this one time we were golfing and he had APB stuck in his head and he kept making up his own words that I really should’ve written down because I think they were better than what I had. And just thinking of him and some of the powerful things we shared pushed me thru today.
Well, that and having a great audience there listening as well. I could feel the love here and I just followed where it went song to song. No setlist. Just what felt right.
I’m barely remembering what I played now but it was probably my best show of this tour, at least it felt like the best show so far.
Guitar Geek Warning: I switched the strings on my acoustic from 13’s to 12’s today. A huge difference on this guitar. I play 13’s on all my acoustics except my J45. This guitar just got a bunch better. I had the wrong strings on it. Not all guitars are the same and it was starting to play really stiff and my fingers were feeling bruised from playing. The 12’s are making a big difference already.
The humidity is taking a toll on my Guild 12 string. The neck is not liking it at all and I have some uneven-ness in the frets and some buzz in places but I don’t really feel like doing a fret level and crown on it. I don’t even know anywhere around that could do it.
Something is wrong with my DI pedal. I’m getting weird cutting out sounds while playing. I don’t feel like doing any soldering but I have to figure this out pronto.
I was gifted something awesome again tonight and I’m just blown away by my fans. Two years ago Petra gave me this Matchbox car that was the “Roller Toaster” and I thought that was too cool for school. Someone (I think Boris) did some photoshop to miniaturize me and put me in front of the Matchbox car. Today she gave me a shirt with the picture of me in front of the Roller Toaster and inscribed with Toast Tour Germany 2019. I’m wearing it right now. Unbelievably awesome.
So much more stuff from today but it’s 1:30 am now and I have to sleep.
*That’s not exactly true. In my experience there is usually 1 person for every 75 people listening that will recognize this tune and they will LOVE it. The odds go up greatly if you’re playing in the U.K.
**I have made instrumental versions of all our albums and nothing has been used yet but they keep asking for them so I keep doing them.
***You know, with the same collectability as Beanie Babies.
****I’m turning into one of those old men that sit on the front porch and say things like “Storm’s a-coming, my knee is acting up.” “Ah, must be snow soon, my jaw is feeling really tight.”