Train from Cologne to Manheim, Thursday May 4th, 2023
I’m back on a train. Eyes full of sleep. Heart full of gratitude. I’m in the quiet carriage. The sun is shining. I need to stay awake until my first “umsteigen”. My eyes are heavy. My bag is signifcantly lighter. I’ve met such kindess and support along the way.
I left you in Rees on Sunday night before the gig at the old church. I’ve played this 18th century church many times now, thanks to the efforts of my good friend John Collins. John would find me a gig on the moon, and he’d sell it out too. It’s very easy to sing in an old church, and the crowd joined in with me for many songs. I ate a doner kebab the size of my head. Possibly too close to gig time, but as I say, it’s easy to sing in churches. Oh, and Ulf suggested I do this one completely acoustic. I’m glad he did.
As many of you know, I played livestreams throughout the pandemic. Barbara and Marlene from Rees were two of my regular listeners. They had mentioned that they couldn’t tip as they didn’t have paypal or venmo and that they’d sort me out when I came to play. I completely forgot about this. They came to a few of the gigs in the area over the weekend and after the gig on Sunday they presented me with a piggy bank. Everytime they had watched a livestream during the pandeimic they’d dropped a tip in the piggy bank. What a lovely gesture.
Train from Mannheim to Munich
Well, I appear to have made the first connection.
Monday night I played a house concert near Cologne. Lisa and Bernd were wonderful hosts. They packed the house and knew the words to many of my songs. They had a spectacular little back garden that definitely inspired me to get to work next time I have some Upstate time. I was happy to see Casey Black on the CD shelf. Warren Malone, “Der Warren” got plenty of mentions too. I enjoyed the gig very much and enjoyed catching up with Mel and Ulf’s old neighbour Uli who was telling me of he and his retirement camper van adventures in Italy and France.
Tuesday night we drove to rural Menslage for another private gig and it was beautiful. I’ve played this one several times over the years ( at least 3 times now?) I even wrote ‘When We Are Soil’ ( from Dream Your Way Out Of This One) in their home. Spectacular rural location. Lovely, lovely people. Danke Klaus und Sabine.
This is my first “Not drinking right now” German tour. It’s honestly been easy. They have some serious alcohol free beers. Though I did completely fuck myself up with a sugar and caffeine rush after a ginormous piece of cake on one of the ubiquitous Café und Kuchen breaks.
Last night I played another house concert, also in Cologne. A really picturesque neighbourhood, with very narrow streets, flower boxes and blooming trees everywhere, children playin on the street as neighbour’s enjoyed a post work beer and chat.
Before the gig I went for a walk, you know me, I wandered into a cemetery. I admired the trees and remembered many walks in Greenwood Cemetery when we lived in Brooklyn, thinking of the line, “ All is fragile, Use your time well” from Corridors I sat for a while and got centered for the gig. I decided I’d give ‘Corridors’ an airing later too.
Stefanie was the house concert host last night. She fed me delicious food and made me feel very welcome. I’m not sure how many people were in her living room and kitchen last night but it felt like a Coughlan’s or Little Whelan’s gig. Jam packed. Lovely people. My friend Ilka from Wuppertal came, she’d seen me at Acoustic Festival Dusseldorf a few times and later booked me for a venue she used to run. A man called Frank told me many Germans of his age are named after Frank Sinatra? Echt? The door to the back garden was open behind me for the first set and the birds and the church bells did a beautiful job singing along.
I chatted with a guy called Matthias about Clonakilty and Timoleague. Turns out Mathias has also been to Rockaway Beach on one of his many work trips to New York. He mentioned he had been to Madison Square Garden several times to work press for boxing. I asked if he knew my friend John Duddy. He was very impressed by this casual strong right hook of a name drop. MAthais had been covering a Vitali Klitschko fight in NY and whilst there had also seen John Duddy fight in Madison Square Garden. ( Vitali Klitschko is now the mayor of Kiev.)
Imagine his surprise when I told him I am in a film with John Duddy. ( I have a cameo and 3 songs in the Colin Broderick film ‘Emerald City’ in which John Duddy plays the lead man. It’s available to stream on Amazon once again I believe.)
Afterwards we went back to Mel and Ulf’s and I repacked and slept for a few hours before Mel kindly dropped me to the train. There are some changes and complications in my route today but all is going fine.
I am infinitely grateful to all who helped with this run of gigs. Especailly Mel and Ulf. They always take such good care of me when I’m with them that when I leave them I always joke that I am being released back into the wild.
Just passing through Stuttgart now. Hi Olli! Thanks Ray Houghton. Great goal against in England here in 1988…
Three gigs left on this run:
Thursday and Friday at Laden, Vienna
Saturday Private Event Munich
Tuesday Washington DC with Lisa O’ Neill ?!!! Woo ha