Yesterday we headed home after 11 shows over 12 days through Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. All summer we had been so pumped to properly get out on the road again – writing and recording in the studio is a beautiful way to spend time but playing loud and live is a completely different experience and it’s one that I crave after a little while.
On our way out of England we were moved to receive the tragic news that a long time fan of the band, named Sander, had tickets to see our show at Paradiso in Amsterdam but had died suddenly just a few weeks prior. His sister Kirsten wrote to us to say that ‘Pull Yourself Together’ had been his favourite song and was the last song played at his funeral. Kirsten and a close friend of Sander came to the Paradiso show and we were all pleased to be able to spend time getting to know each other afterwards and also at the following show in Nijmegen. Learning that a song of ours had a profound affect on other people moves us deeply in turn and gives us new perspective, and it certainly did that night. We were pleased to dedicate ‘Pull Yourself Together’ to him that night at Paradiso, the show he would have otherwise been at.
We wanted to try something different for this run of shows so, somewhat spontaneously, Nathan and I went down amongst the crowd to sing unplugged and acoustic in the middle of the room. The first time was at our ‘intimate’ show in Hengelo where it worked amazingly. We then tried again at Paradiso. We had no idea if singing unplugged in that huge room was a good idea but when it came to it, 1500 people were completely silent as the two of us sang with one acoustic guitar in the centre of the room. That was an incredible feeling for the two of us and it seemed to be a special moment for the crowd too. The space was built to carry those natural sounds and the response from the fans was electric. Perhaps we’ll try it again at future shows if it feels right!
We’ve had a great crew on the road with us this time round. A personal highlight was pre-show jamming Chet Atkins tunes with my good friend and guitar-tech, Joseph Lofthouse, who supported us on the previous tour. He is an amazing fingerpicker and he keeps me on my toes while away. ‘Drive Like Maria’ were the support act for the majority of the shows and they were an amazing band to fire us up for each performance. Great guys to hang out with too!
Another surprising revelation has been bringing bikes along on tour. Adam and I are passionate about cycling and we managed to spend hours cycling in practically every city we’ve been to. If you only have a day to see a city a bicycle is by far the best way to get around. You get to see it properly and thoroughly, all of it – the beauty and the famous sights, the rats and the run-down parts of town too. Cycling out in the countryside with only the wind to listen to is the perfect antidote to the crazy loud rock shows from the night before. And touring can be an altogether unhealthy business so it’s good to get away from it all and fill the lungs will real air.
Yesterday morning we were up early to play a few live songs for Giel at 3FM in the Netherlands. Those radio shows are always great fun and it was the perfect end to an excellent run of shows in Europe before our upcoming extensive North American Tour. So now for two weeks each doing our own thing – travelling independently, writing, spending time with family, etc., before we launch into a tour of almost five weeks all over the North American continent followed by four shows in the UK. Can’t wait for it all to begin again.