Day 7—May 28. Berlin:
At last, at last! We played a show tonight, the four of us finally reunited, Connor back from Cologne, Annie from rollerblading, me from my cave and Brittany from the ER. Earlier today, I went swimming in a small neighborhood lake with my Berlin friend Anne. We put down our towels on the grass. I stared for a long time at the baby ducks huddled under a tree by the water. The water was cold. Naked men and women walked and swam around. I got a bit of a sunburn. But back to the show. It went great, smooth, fun, wild and oh, we are happy. Connor commented how he had missed playing. He hates days off as much as I used to. I'm happy tonight, in a quiet way.
Day 8—May 29. Berlin to Fulda:
I couldn't sleep last night after the show. Wired, restless, hungry, lonesome, tired, worried about the storm raging on the British harbor where my sailboat - home - is moored. In the morning, Anne brings us to her special lake for a swim. Brittany and I dip in while Connor and Annie find a spot away from the dozens of naked young and old sunbathers. The culture shock reaches peak level.
The afternoon is a long drive from Berlin south to Fulda. Tired, I get gloomy and a bit depressed, feeling lonelier and darker than at any point since the start of tour. Always happens after a great show and leaving friends behind. We stop for burgers at a picture-perfect chrome and vinyl booths replica of an American roadside diner. Some hours later, we park at last on the street of our AirBnB in Fulda. It's Big Trash Day in Fulda and the people of "our" street celebrate it with a communal sidewalk BBQ. We join in, eat sausages and drink beer on the street, discussing with these hardcore German hobbyists their collection of VW bugs and lowrider bicycles projects while Annie rollerblades our guitars and bags from the van to the safety of our rooms. I wish I had a photo of that.
Day 9—May 30. Fulda>Frankfurt>Karlsrühe:
Daily events blur and fade fast, none more salient than the moment of performance itself. Micro-emergencies and road delays, and the routine of tour, leave me anxious. I'm at the American Consulate in Frankfurt getting a warranty deed notarized for the sale of my home in Tucson. Bye, bye, old adobe and the fruit trees I planted ten years ago, bearing now so much fruit. I'm passing on their care to a Californian and - funny coïncidence - friend of Howe Gelb. Is Howe haunting our tour? Tucson expat musician Chris Cacavas - once of Tucson's Pedestrians and Green on Red - who opens our show tonight in Karlsrühe, has also been one of Howe's collaborator. Born and raised in Arizona, Chris did what many of us have done on European tours: meet and mate abroad. He's been happy ever since. It's an odd night. The four of us are exhausted by the heat and humidity but tonight's show is special, the only night where we have to share our stage. The slight chaos created by having to make room for Chris and his band's presence is largely compensated by the sheer joy and inevitability of making new friends. We have three shows left. So far, so good. Again in Frankfurt, Nüremberg and Düsseldorf, I will tackle Howe's ghost by singing one of his songs - my way.
Here it is :