Marti and I have been enjoying a fine -- albeit foreshortened -- weekend together: movie date on the Champs-Elysées after work on Friday (we saw Washington Square starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Chaplin, Albert Finney and Maggie Smith, based on the Henry James novel -- it was excellent); terrasse lunch at the Tabac de la Mairie Saturday; a search for (and finally finding) the special eclipse-watching glasses; last-minute shopping; putting up more posters for the Panic Paris gig; and, packing.
Arrived in Amsterdam yesterday afternoon, hooked up with Pat Goodwin and basically did the coffeeshop circuit. Pat had flown in from Chicago earlier Sunday morning. We hit the Grey Area at exactly 4:20. Jon Sprayberry, Heidi and Kip, in from Georgia, met us there. We did a serious hang there sampling Grey Mist, a Cannabis Cup winner.
Later the five of us hopped a tram, rode "black" to the Leidseplein. Mexican dinner at Sarita's, food generally good, waiter uncomprehending, unintelligible and s l o w w w w w . . .
On the way home Pat and I stopped by the Speak Easy, recommended by Ed Fairchild, an American Spreadhead I’d met in Amsterdam. Picked up some Jack (Herrer, not Daniels). Pat went to bed after that and I went to another Rokerij right across the Singel Canal, very near to our hotel, for a nightcap.
Another onslaught of Spreadheads is due in tomorrow from the States and from around Europe. I've been submitting stuff to Hanno Bunjes' Euro Tour listserv; Goodwin would have submitted something to S-NET or AN HONEST TUNE (or wherever the Hell he's supposed to be posting) had he not been distracted for hours by the coffeeshops and by his new inflatable doll, Brandi.
Here's the setlist. 1: Travelin' Light > Sleepy Monkey > Henry Parsons Died / Raise The Roof > Junior > Blackout Blues / Aunt Avis > Tall Boy > C. Brown
2: Surprise Valley / Arlene / Dyin’ Man > Makes Sense To Me > Pleas > Swamp > Drumz > Jam > Maggot Brain > Driving Song > Breathing Slow > Radio Child
E1: City Of Dreams
E2: All Time Low
Before “City Of Dreams” J.B. said, “Everybody’s gotta be somewhere. And this is a good place to be, I think!”
After the show, JoJo, his pal Ron Shapiro and I hit the streets on a coffeeshop quest, but it was too late. We ducked into a joint where two sexually charged couples were going at it at the bar. JoJo and I were checking out the two women of the foursome becoming very affectionate with each other. Already horny and we've only been away from our squeezes for a couple of days.
We went back to the dressing room at the Paradiso for awhile, then the venue managers kicked us out, so the group made their way onto the bus for the trip to Hamburg. The roadies still had another hour or two of loadout before they could roll.
I found Jon Declos, whom I'd met during the Chesterfield run, shared a cab with him as we returned to our hotels uptown.
This did not deter me from having as much fun as I could during my remaining hours in Sin City. I went to the Internet café, read my email and posted to my page.
The eclipse, partial though it was from this northern vantage point, was pretty damn cool. We had been forewarned that it would be cloudy and rainy, but the sun shone in Amsterdam, to my great joy.
Ran into Widespread Panic manager Sam Linear and Capricorn rep Mike Bone immediately. Someone pointed to a corner in a back room where I could stash my bags.
2: Party At Your Mama's House > Space Wrangler > Greta > Love Tractor > Papa's Home > Drums > Papa's Home > Pilgrims / Porch Song
E: Bear's Gone Fishin' > Junco Partner
A very hot show, played hard and sweaty, without the murky, snarling overtones of the previous night's epic at the Paradiso.
Only an Indiana corncob could take five hours to find the fucking Red Light District in Hamburg! Well, at least he arrived in time to tape the shows. On today's drive to Hannover we listened to Pat's Hamburg playback. The performances were catching fire.
2: Chunk Of Coal, Little Lilly, Tie Your Shoes > Proving Ground > Jack > Spoonful > Drums > Conrad > Proving Ground > Knocking 'Round The Zoo
Another smokin' show. Not as many natives in the audience as there had been in Hamburg, but still a strong contingent of locals. All the Spreadheads agreed that the shows were getting hotter night by night.
Here goes. “Know why they had to cremate Jerry Garcia? Because they couldn’t fit his fat ass in the coffin.”
I don’t recall where I heard that awful joke.
As soon as Harmut walked off, J.B. turned to Mikey and said, "I guess we'd better take care of this guy."
Now Pat is great guy and lots of fun to be with on tour. He has a comprehensive knowledge about Panic, its repertoire and tons of other music. His sense of direction and roadmap-reading skills, on the other hand, are on a par with say, your average rock.
“How can they change the name of the street if we’re on the same street?” he asks. “They can do that, Pat,” I answer, “because it’s their fucking city!”
Eventually we made it to the Hotel Griefswald, booked for us by Berlin's own Linus Scheffran and conveniently located two blocks from the venue: the Knaack.
We downed the brewskis, then went across the street to Goa, a nouvelle Indian restaurant. We had a great meal on the outdoor terrace.
1: Travelin' Light, Little Kin > Dyin' Man, Hatfield > Sleeping Man > Stop-Go > Pusherman > Blackout Blues
2: Big Wooly Mammoth > Walk On > Driving Song > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Drums > Four Cornered Room > Ride Me High > Driving Song > Fishwater
Friday the fucking Thirteenth.
(I'm smiling because Sequoia found my eyeglasses!)
Leg One of my Panic Euro Tour was over. A week from Monday right here in Paris, I'd join up again for the Final Four shows.
In an example of impeccable timing, Arminda, our housekeeper, was back home in Portugal on August vacation. But we got it together by the weekend. Pat Goodwin, whenever he resurfaced, and tourmate Don Hess would be staying here for a couple of nights. And we'd reserved crash spaces and hotel rooms for several others. We were looking forward to a fun house party.
Here's the menu for Sunday night:
Lettuce / Orange / Red Onion Salad
Lamb Tagine w/ Pine Nuts and Raisins
Chicken Tagine w/ Green Olives
North African Bread
Sidi Brahmin Wine (Algerian)
Sweet Mint Tea
Because of the amounts needed for Sunday, I cooked in larger pots and simply used the tagines for serving. I'd originally invited about a dozen or so tourheads, but as plans were evolving it looked like we might be hosting 30 or so folks.
Before I could decide that this was very odd, I noticed a primitive painting on the wall by my table that depicted a peasant cooking on a grill in the exact same way, except that he was using an old-fashioned fireplace bellows. Let's hear it for advanced technology!
Their absence didn't diminish the partying here at rue Blomet, though, as a good number of itinerant Spreadheads gathered to enjoy a relaxing non-show night. (Ralph Metzger had hosted a similar convocation during one of the off-nights in Germany and the gang had assembled for a mountain jam on a no-show evening in Switzerland.)
In the house tonight were Pat, Don, Bill Mixon, Stacey Gates, Deepesh, Karen, Robin, Doug, Jeff "Sequoia" McLean, Parisian homeboy Michel Ravinet and his houseguest, the ambassador of the German Head Community, Ralph.
Our luncheon party included Disco, Pat, Stacey, Bill, Robin, Doug, Marti and me.
I phoned Marti and suggested that she taxi to the bar to meet me for the show. Isabel and her dad were there and I introduced them to J.B. and JoJo. We got a table near the open-to-the-street section of the restaurant. Christophe arrived with Deadicace guitarist Stephane Missri and Jean-François, another friend, then Marti showed up. J.B. and JoJo welcomed her warmly. She had not seen them since last summer at the Bataclan.
Knowing that August is a dead month for live music in Paris, I had contacted the show promoter, Assad Debs of Corida Productions, and given him a mailing list of area freaks. Corida sent out a flyer based on their concert poster. Marti and I had put up posters in a number of youth hostels and other locations around the city where we thought we might snag a few additional Americans to help fill up the club.
1: C. Brown > Disco > Goin' Out West > Pleas > Barstools and Dreamers > It Ain't No Use > Blue Indian, Dyin' Man
2: Porch Song > Machine > Blight > Tall Boy > Fishwater > Drums > Fishwater > Impossible > Travelin' Light
E: Sometimes > Me And The Devil Blues > All Time Low
I had a nasty blood blister topping a huge lump on my left shin, plus a bruised ankle, from the previous afternoon's crash into the stereo speaker. I put a couple of band-aids over it and hobbled onward.
That was the last thing that went right today.
Marie is a British Telecom colleague of Marti's, whom we got to know on a trip to Rome in 1991. She and Kevin lived in Paris for a few years, had homes in Wimbledon, then Esher, England, before moving to Scotland. They were sweet to host us and our hippie posse. It was 11:30 p.m. when we arrived; we had originally planned to be there in time to take them out to dinner.
At least we finally made it to the land of whiskey-swillin' men in plaid skirts.
Kevin gave us a ride into the city center, where Pat and Don had railroad station business. Then we cabbed over to the hip little Glasgow University quarter, for a bit of liquor (Scotch, of course) and CD shopping. I was feeling my shin injury by now; it would be taxis from here on out. I picked up some tasty '70s items in the CD shop, like Rick James' Greatest Hits and Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters. I also bought an all-weather jacket, a good thing to shop for in Scotland -- it's invariably raining.
E: Sleeping Man > Makes Sense To Me.
Widespread Panic had reverted to the long single set format, to the delight of the fans. This show had lots of great moments, but I spent a good part of it in a back booth with my injured leg elevated.
At one point a kind Spreadhead medical student took a look and got some first aid items to dress my wound. He disinfected it with vodka. He cautioned me to keep an eye on the healing. If anything turned color or weird-looking, I should see a doctor.
I did a little aftershow schmoozing, then we all piled into the Kevinmobile for the trip back to his place.
When the conductor announced that the bar car was open, I remember seeing a blur rush past me even before the loudspeaker had stopped crackling. It had been Disco and Pat, of course. A while later I went to the bar car myself and when I didn't see those two, I had them paged.
"Would Mr. Pat and Mr. Disco please join their colleague in the refreshment car," the dude broadcast to the rest of the pilgrims rollin' down the line. Pat said later it was one of his favorite moments on the tour.
This one was so intimate we were calling it the party at your mama's house!
E: Nobody's Loss.
Everybody was a rail bird that night. A great opportunity to see Widespread Panic live in your face, with plenty of twirlin' and spinnin' room.
Starting tomorrow Schools and Mikey were going on vacations in England and around Europe with their respective squeezes. They could hardly wait.
The fish 'n' chips were great. Sam smiled and said, "You know, Phil, you've really got to see us in the States, with our full sound and all the lights. Why don't you come to New Orleans for Halloween?"
I was bowled over. Needless to say, I took Sam up on his offer immediately. I had already scheduled a November flight to the U.S., to visit my mom in Massachusetts. All I had to do was change the dates of the booking!
Sam walked back up to the gig. Marti and I took a taxi, because of my hurtin' leg. When we got to the venue, the place had a special end-of-tour vibe to it.
We were ready to rock it one more time, Panic was ready to get down to business.
E: Sometimes > All Time Low
That was it. One last one-set extravanganza. Loved that "Climb To Safety" closer. And here was the new item, "Sometimes," kicking off the encore. A super night.
Way back in Hannover Schools had been whining that he didn't have any mementoes signed by the fans, so we presented him tonight with a New Morning poster that I had been toting from town to town, collecting Spreadhead autographs for Dave. He was thrilled, he said.
I looked around. It seemed like half the audience stayed for the aftershow.
This all began for me with ten nights at the Chesterfield Café. Over the past 18 months I had seen 20 Panic shows, all in Europe and none before a crowd of more than 400 people. Not that I'm complaining!
Now I was gonna see the real deal -- make that surreal, it would be Nawlins.