I played my last two shows with Dan on percussion, keyboards, and general emotional support for the 2018 Germany tour. I dropped him off at the airport yesterday. Now starts my last five shows opening up solo for Lilly Among Clouds. Here’s what happened on our last couple days together.
For this tour, we’ve played the whole range of places. Super quiet listening rooms, makeshift DIY spaces, bars, etc. Swamp in Freiburg was a bar. And word is getting out about our tour pal’s Wayne Graham. They’re on the top of the critics picks playlist for Rolling Stone in Germany. They’re on the big radio stations. And of course, they’re sweet as can be the whole time.
So, all that being said - that Freiburg show was a big ol loud sold out bar show. Folks spilled out into the street outside the little venue, listening to everything through the cracks in the windows. It got hot. It got cramped. Years ago, before anyone knew who the were, The National played here. It definitely felt like Kenny, Hayden, Lee, and Chris were at the beginning of something like that. And everyone in the building could smell it.
We played before them and got to wrestle with a packed room of excited listeners, wrangling our songs and hooting and hollering and having the time of our lives. At least the time of my life. We got loud, then got quiet. Then they got quiet, and we danced that little give and take between energy and stillness that feels better than even the best listening room. Carmelo and Martin really know how to run a place.
After the show, I met Leo. Leo traveled 3 hours by train and transit to come to the show. He stayed with a friend in the city that night. Somehow, he found our music through Spotify, and it hooked him. He told me about hiking in Romania with Straw playing, and how neat it was to see us play that live in a crowded room. We hugged like every time I talk to someone with a story like that.
We slept at the Hotel Kaiser, which happens to also be a restaurant. That means we had a killer breakfast with the best dang croissants that I’ve ever had in my life. I took two for the drive to Hof.
In Hof, we met a woman named Sandra. Sandra is an angel - she’s a nurse, but mostly teaches other nurses for a living now. Her kids, Hannah and Konstantin, made us feel like family right away.
From time to time, they host concerts in the attic of their building. There are lines of benches, cushions, candles, and a little PA system. It’s kinda like our dream. So, we got to play a sweet little quiet set.
We hung out on the roof of the apartment, between the solar panels, and spotted a few shooting stars with Hannah and Konstantin. We ate homemade lasagne and shared a few beers. I felt like I was around the table at home again, scooping another serving and opening another beer as we went. We ended the night on the balcony, learning about the best and worst kinds of German music. And Hannah woke us up with breakfast, and sent us on our way.
That brings us to our last show together. In Munster, Jacques got us settled in as soon as we arrived. I checked in to our hostel around the corner. Tobias got us sound checked right quick. We ate some killer quiche. Then, we played our last set together on tour. Surrounded by couches and filled up with dinner, I haven’t been happier sharing a stage with anyone.
Dan’s been a joy to have on this little adventure. Every stop, someone has talked about how he’s a tremendous percussionist, but so much more than a percussionist. He invented piano parts, then organ parts, then glockenspiel parts, then synth parts, and figured out how to play them all using a little keyboard attached to my laptop. He’s full to the brim with talent and ability, but smart enough to choose the best spots to highlight them. He never overplays (unless that’s our plan) and always gets me back on track when I hop off the rails a bit.
I’ll miss him over the next week. But it will be good to see him back in Columbus, and to reflect on this wild whirlwind of a trip. And all I want to do is arrange a new record with him hand in hand.
Thanks Dan - it felt good and bad to drop you off at the airport. Thanks for taking a risk on this adventure - I’m looking forward to more. But I’l see you in Ohio before then.