We continue with the final of our Guest Tour Blog from Echo Bloom’s founder, Kyle Evans, who shares his highlights and challenges from their recent tour of Germany…in this final entry their car gets broken into, they play a beautiful old philharmonic hall, and say goodbye to Germany.
Tour Blog Part 4
I like wolves as much as the next person I guess. They’re kind of like an awesome mixture of a golden retriever and a bear – and they’re pack animals, which kind of makes them like a band. We, like our lupine brethren, travel the lands together, forage for our food, and make really loud noises at night.
I am thinking of this as I’m watching a slideshow about wolves at the Bremen Science Center. We got in from Köln (the umlaut is pronounced in German as if one was swallowing a pickle – Americans call it “Cologne”) a few hours earlier after a 6-hour drive, and are playing our second-to-last show as a really low-key song cycle thing between a set of lectures. The one we’re hearing is about wolves. I think there’s another about bread. They are all in German. When, periodically, people start clapping, we clamber on stage and sing one of a few pre-selected songs that go along with the themes of the evening. We are a tired wolf pack.
Which is convenient, because the tour is almost over. We’ve played just about everywhere from Renaissance-era cathedrals to school cafeterias to beautiful concert halls to dive bars. We sold a TON of copies of our record Blue, which we were touring behind (and, pro tip, is available on iTunes and Amazon, as well as streaming everywhere), and met a lot of giving, flat-out NICE people. It’s been an amazing trip. So while we’re tired, we are really happy.
Until we leave the venue and find that our van is broken into.
What the f…? Seriously? This is the most polite country in the whole damn world and they broke into our van the night before the biggest show on our tour? Maybe it’s BECAUSE they were polite, and they waited until the last day so as to not inconvenience us more than necessary. Regardless – it’s both annoying, and cold. Annoying because of the obvious – we lost a laptop (including all of the digital samples we use during performances) a passport, and a wallet. Cold because we now have a big hole in the side of our car, and November is apparently monsoon season in Germany. We’re supposed to have a quiet night at home packing and enjoying some sleep before our GREAT BIG SHOW tomorrow (more on this later). Instead, we’re heading to the police station. Sigh. BUT WE ROLL WITH IT!
Primarily because we’ve got Heiko with us. Heiko runs our label, Songs and Whispers, and is a phenomenally organized, level-headed person. He knows exactly what to do, and guides our sleep-deprived, somewhat crippled van to the Bremen police station where we fill out a police report (an aside – Germany has the same number of attractive people as any other place, but I posit that they’re not evenly distributed. Weirdly, the Bremen police department is like FILLED with models. You could shoot a police procedural there. Seriously.). We made them take a picture with us. The cop was amused (Cody, clearly, was not).
—4 hours later—
I’m noticing that a fair amount of time of this tour has been spent trying to break into places we’re supposed to be playing in. This is what I think of as “a waiting realization”. It’s in the same class as thinking about optimizing the algorithms for elevator delivery while waiting for an elevator.
We are now outside of Sendesaal, this completely beautiful concert hall that is the venue for the final show in our European tour. The place is ace. Originally built in the early 50’s, and clearly designed from the ground up for acoustics and listening. I imagine a well organized group of bearded craftsmen, clad in worn leather aprons, triple-checking each detail of its construction with slide rulers and levels. Klaus is 4 micrometers off on the alignment for one of the acoustic panels. In his frustration he goes home and organizes a closet to make himself feel better.
The setup is very elaborate at Sendesaal, which requires us to be there around 1pm for the 8pm show. A PA comes in, drums are setup, lights are arranged. Guitars are tuned, levels are gotten, and sounds are, thoroughly, checked. And it’s really only then that we have a moment to catch our breath.
Have you ever heard of a reality distortion field? It’s this thing that Steve Jobs was known for at Apple. It’s a combination of chutzpah, persistence, and a wilful denial of practical limits that enables people to achieve goals that, at first blush, seem ridiculous. To me, the experience of Germany kind of felt like that. We met yogis. We drove 7500km. We played 35 shows in 30 days (one of them in a cathedral). We packed more living into a month then I typically get out of three. This is what we came here for. This is who we are.
WE ARE A FIERCE WOLF PACK.
And then we’re huddled together before the show, and we’re grateful and we’re tired, and the police have recovered some of our things, and the aircraft-hanger sized space has filled with people. And the lights go down, and we walk out on stage, and the applause bounces off the perfectly tuned walls and feels like it’s everywhere.
We play our songs, we tell our stories. I learn that I’ve mistakenly been using the word “artificial” for the word “good” (“Das ist künstlich” does NOT mean “Das ist köstlich”). And at the end of the show, just like the 34 shows before it, Aviva and I unplug and wade out into the audience. We sing our song Seeds, about how the truest forms of love are when you want to blur into the other person, wrapping into them like a grafted tree. And we gradually merge into the crowd.
And then there are hugs.
And long drives into the German midnight.
Until next year, Germany.
Photo Credit: Main post image by Ulla Heynes