Dave`s Germany Blog 2006

Dave Nachmanoff`s Blog vom 13. - 17. November 2006

Hello, all: Here's Dave's blog from 4 days in Deutschland

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11/13/ 06:
Woke at 6:30am and met Chris for breakfast at 7am! Said goodbye to
Michaela and Sandra of the Swan and loaded up the van… We made Dover
by 10am and caught an 11am ferry to Calais. It wasn't as fast as the
ferry from Maine to Nova Scotia, but we did take a short stroll on the
deck. At the other end we drove right through the border without
having to show passports or anything. It was a short trip across
France (without stopping), and a longish trip across Belgium (also
without stopping). Fairly boring scenery and it rained on and off.
Made Aachen (where we crossed into Germany) about 5:30pm, and stopped
for a meal (good thing that Mari had given me those energy bars!).
Had spaghetti bolognese and a very watery Diet Pepsi. Found an
internet kiosk and sent a quick note to Stefan. (I didn't realize
that he'd try to come and meet us…). The keyboard is different in
Germany, making typing a bit awkward for me. Back on the road, and we
passed Frankfurt by 7:30. We were in Aschaffenberg by about 8:30pm.
We found the hotel and Al's cab pulled up just as we did (he'd flown
over and taken a cab from the Frankfurt airport).

Al and Chris and I ate in the hotel restaurant (the hotel is called
"Wilder Mann" or Wild Man, and there images of a sort of cave man
everywhere). Chris had a "fawnsteak" (!?) – and I had a great salad
with turkey and we had a Beaujolais that Al picked. After dinner we
went back to the hotel bar and tried the weizen beer – met a guy who
works for Carl Zeiss (optics company) whose English was quite good. I
managed to get the hotel computer to work and checked briefly before
crashing….

11/14/06
Woke at 9:30 to meet Chris for breakfast (included here) and caught
the tail end of the buffet. I am exhausted from the day's journey.
Went back up to the room and slept for an hour. Al and I planned to
meet and change the battery in his guitar (for the pre-amp) and change
strings, but since I wasn't sure if my spare 9 volt battery was new we
decided to wait and just do the strings. I saw three goats across the
street grazing on a steep terrace. After changing the strings I
called Stefan's office and spoke with his nice assistant, Annette.
She said that he'd call back at 3pm. The phone rang and it was Mom
and Dad and Jen and Sophia calling from Arlington, and I got to speak
with each of them a bit. Sounded like Sophia was having a good time
with her cousins! Then Stefan called and we had about a 40 minute
conversation. It was really nice to be able to speak in real time,
and his English was excellent. Unfortunately, with an early court
date on the 15th, he wouldn't be able to come to Aschaffenberg, but
sent Heike, his wife, to the rescue.

At 5:30pm we went to the venue. It was amazing to see Chris back our
huge Sprinter van into the tunnel beside the Club (Colo-saal). It was
reminiscent of the Robin II in Wolverhampton. Definitely a rock club!
But it had a nice dressing room and a great sound system. The sound
guy, Hermann, added some extra reverb to my guitar on some solos,
which worked great!

Chris was "Nevilling" for Neville, and we set up a bit differently,
with merch in back (out of grabbing range) and just a few samples in
front. Heike did make it in time, carrying the two large boxes!
Luckily a nice guy had seen her struggling and helped her to bring
them in. CD sales were very slow before the show. There were a mix
of Germans, Scots and even some Americans. I played (1) Midnight
Sea, (2) Rude Awakening (dedicated to Donald Rumsfeld with a big cheer
from the audience). (3) Descartes in Amsterdam and (4) Grateful, and
(5) The Loyalist (Al had said to do five). Al was in good form and we
both relaxed and had fun – we got a great response for "On the
Border." At the interval they all went outside or to the bar… Sales
were slow… The second set rocked with a great response on "Midas
Shadow." Al mentioned CDs at the end (we did "End of the Day" and
"Joe the Georgian" as encores). So sales at the end were quite good!
I said goodbye to Heike and headed back to the hotel. Stayed up late
talking with Chris and caught up a bit on email.

11/15 - Day off!
Woke early for breakfast with Chris (oy!) and back to bed for an hour
or so. Checked out at 11am and did some more email, then at 12, met
Al to leave for Kaiserslautern (K-Town). It was a beautiful day
outside. Must find a Laundromat! Very tired… Surreal to be
shuttling around in a big van with Al Stewart…

We were in a big modern sort of hotel on the outskirts of town (the
Dorint). Chris and walked down the big hill into town to the
Laundromat and had a walk while the laundry was going. Stopped in a
"fast food" fish place and had some very tasty fish with mushrooms and
dill and potatoes. Hiked back up the hill with the laundry (oh the
glamour of show business!).

The hotel had free internet access in the business center (yay!) so I
tried to catch up on email a bit. Took Al and Chris for dinner at the
hotel restaurant (excellent chestnut soup with goose and a real Ceasar
salad). Very late dinner. Spoke on the phone with Arlington quite
late. Changed strings… Got to bed about 1am.

11/16
Woke late but in time for breakfast. Another nice buffet. Spent an
hour or two working on the computer and took a long walk into town
with Chris. Stopped for a late afternoon coffee in a local place and
found a nice little present for Jen. Hiked up the hill and got ready
to take a nice long bath and shower before leaving for the gig. But
the phone kept ringing! It was Stefan asking me about something. So
much for a long bath… Showered and got dressed for the show. Chris
had heard from Neville that he'd gotten his Green Card and would be
rejoining us on Saturday. At 5pm we left for the gig.

It was an Arts Center called Kammgarn (not Kammgamm as it had been
written somewhere). Tosten (the sound guy) didn't speak much English,
but did a great job. Lots of reverb on my guitar. We went for
Mexican food before the show (!?) We expected only 50, but had 150 in
the end. Not sure why the show was so poorly attended. There were a
handful of Americans (including a couple from Rio Vista, CA). K-Town
used to have a huge American military presence.

I played (1) Square Peg Blues, (2) Descartes, (3) Lucky, (4) Thing of
Beauty, and (5) The Loyalist. Got a great response! Al was in good
form again and we did a good show. They clapped for my solo on "Midas
Shadow" and they wouldn't stop clapping after "On the Border." Spoke
to both Arlington and Stefan after the show. Changed strings and got
to bed by 2am.

11/17
Made it to breakfast just before 10:30. Spent brief time on the
computer. Saw lots of GI's getting ready to go "somewhere sandy"
(that was as much as they could tell us…). We left "K-Town" (as the
Americans call it) at noon. Al wrote another cool onstage song about
K-Town – involving a crocodile and a Chinese guy. At the "Rasthof"
(rest-stop) I wasn't hungry, so I just hung out while Chris and Al
ate. Al's back was bothering him, and he thinks he may have pulled a
muscle or something. I seem to have some sort of chest congestion
(probably from the cigarette smoke I've been exposed to here). On to
Mosbach! ("Bach" means "Creek" in German).

We pulled into Mosbach about 3 and checked into the Amtsstuble Hotel.
When you go up to the floor with the rooms, it's totally dark until
you turn a light on! Likewise the power in the room shuts off if you
don't put your roomkey in a slot by the door. I went to the "gym" in
the basement and used some rather dilapidated equipment, but still
worked up a good sweat and then had a nice sauna. The congestion
started to lift a bit. Had a 30 minute power nap and shower then
dressed for the show. Left at 5pm and had to wait at the stage door
to get in. We had a separate monitor mixer (Hans) and front of house
mixer (Georg). Soundcheck went OK, though we weren't really loud
enough. Dinner was in the building. The venue, Alta Malzeria was an
Arts Center built in a former brewery. I had duck at the restaurant
(first time this tour) then Chris and I set up the merch. It was a
scramble was usual. Just getting it ready as people were let in. The
Germans were very deliberative. One guy seemed to know who I was and
about "Wordless Rhymes" and he bought one. Otherwise, nothing… Chris
sold a bit, but it was pretty quiet.

I played (1) Midnight Sea, (2) Candy Shower, (3) Say Goodbye to the
Elephants, (4) Grateful and (5) The Loyalist. I got a very nice
reception, but there was a bit of the "concert hall" sort of feel. I
had the sense it might be a "Year of the Cat" sort of audience. Al
asked Hans for more volume and the set got better when he cranked us
up. We did "Lindy" (in the wrong key!?) and I got most of it right,
except for the little riff in the middle, so we went back and did the
riff afterwards. They clapped for the solo in "Time Passages" so Al
had me do it a second time.

The interval was kind of nice with lots of generous comments and
pretty good sales. People are somewhat careful, giving a lot of
thought to their choices. The second set got started with a very
sloppy Paint By Numbers. Al made up a poppy bass riff and sang a few
lines about Mosbach, but left it alone. Great response on "Midas
Shadow!" Did "Night Train" in the second set. Clifton/Small Fruit
and End of the Day as encores. Left `em yelling for more! Good sales
(two Nach Paks)! Hung out with Chris until about 1:30am.

Dave