Another Awards Gig. It’s a week before we start the concerts around Germany. But before we start, we’ve been offered a red carpet affair over in Dusseldorf to play 2 songs; A rather nice offer as it’s all expenses paid, plus a few Euros which, from memory , I remember being called a small fee.
It feels somewhat like déjà vue. Last year we did a similar one in Munich. Two songs, hanging around and long traffic jams around rush hour. I remember the soundcheck; it was memorable because of its surreal and bizarre attention to detail. When I mentioned that my guitar would require amplification, usually achieved with a small DI box, and lead, a technician suggested that I could stick a microphone behind me and the guitar to achieve the same result. It was there that we managed to count a total of 12 engineers and rubberneckers eagerly standing around the tiny mixer attempting to discover which knob would produce some reverb Jem had requested. Meanwhile our promoter was pacing the hall, asking if we’d finished, concerned that she wanted to return to the hotel and wash her hair before the event. So no pressure then!
Today we are missing one of my best friend’s wedding. This had also happened before. A concert and rehearsal schedule was agreed at the same time as Jem’s best chum was about to say her vows. There were a few tears as the plane took off at exactly the same time as the bridal entrance, but stoically and bravely we ventured forth as professionally as we could. Arriving at the rehearsals in Kiel, we discovered that the other artist on the bill had, in her musical inadequacy, poached and stolen all of our allotted rehearsal time with the sixty piece orchestra with whom we were also playing. We were finally left with a magnanimous and somewhat embarrassing fifteen minutes to routine four fully orchestrated songs, throughout which various players were packing up their instruments, as the overtime option hadn’t been offered. More quiet tears for what could have happened and a wedding we could have attended.So with anticipation we look towards to a soundcheck supervised hopefully by someone not from “The school from the completely deaf sound engineers”, and a rewarding time worthy yet again of missing another lawfully joined ( or joyfully loined) occasion.
Jem and I arrive separately at the airport. We meet at our favourite coffee shop departure side, and order our usual settling in before departure. Suddenly, a large explosion as the couple next door decide to set down their tray and all it’s contents onto thin air, missing their table completely. A slow slurry of brown foam begins to move menacingly towards our bags. Like a warm milky tsunami it edges ever closer, covering and collecting everything in its path.
Jem is magnificent. Jumping up and magically producing handfuls of tissues to absorb the oncoming wave, she is reassuring and kind as the unfortunate couple apologise continually and try to help.
” Mind, my guitar is getting wet!!” I bellow, having no feeling for the accident prone pair next door, and Jem’s cream splattered boots.
” Never mind,” she says, ” accidents do happen” as she continues to assist the now ever increasing members of restaurant staff wading into the froth and fray.
I wipe imaginary marks from the guitar case, mumbling to myself, feeling aware how we react in very different ways.’ Takes after her mother’ the quiet voices seem to say.Finally we take off, fly and land, and take to the road. Our enthusiastic promoter reassures us that despite our bags being seriously delayed and the soundcheck being brought forward (?!) we should be on stage within forty minutes.
Three and a half hours later we roll into the venue accompanied by pouring rain and a generous walk to the stage door. There is a general feeling of giving up the will to live. Like a badly planned military manoeuvre and a little road-lagged, we bump and drag our cases, instruments and joke umbrellas across the Tarmac until we reach the make shift dressing room; a corner of a room with a dark mirror, two chairs and a thin screen. Oh the glamour!
Two songs shouldn’t be too taxing. Hopefully be in bed with a nice cup of tea by early evening. And she tells me not to be so ‘Rock and Roll’ as I look forward to a decent breakfast where no one will talk to me.
Happy Wedding day Mart and Anna.