Demons Dance Alone - Tour journal Part 3

DUSSELDORF

Tuesday March 11 2003
show @ ZAKK


Hard to believe this is almost over. We had a long drive from London and are all ready for a night off of the bus, though all our nights, now, will be off the bus since we said goodbye to our beloved driver Michael today in the rain.  

Now we are in D’dorf at some charming little hotel, and I have a room all to myself. I take a hot bath and turn on the TV and wade thru the contents of my suitcase. I have an alarming quantities of candy and too many pairs of thick wool socks. My brain is mush now. All I can think about is eating, since there will be no sleeping till late tonight. I am feeling back to normal, though now x is super sick and feels very bad. I can hear the coughing next door and feel horrible for being the infector. They are calling me “Typhoid Molly”.  

I wish we could see what we look like at the beginning of a tour and at the end. When we arrived today at the hotel, the very cool manager took a look at us all and said, “breakfast is served until 10am, but for you we can have it later…1pm?” I will remember this hotel for the excellent bacon. The brain becomes so focused on very small things when that’s all there is.

Tomorrow we fly to Greece and then we do two shows and then we finish.  And then F and I travel around for 10 days. Then life returns to normal. Which is the more real life?

The show tonight went great!, a total breeze after playing the Royal Festival Hall. Everyone was really relaxed, due to exhaustion and sickness if nothing else…  Sometimes that’s the best way to approach the stage. You can’t really ever tell how something will go, but I have noticed that the less worried you are, always the better.  It was just good fun and everyone was pretty on-point and loose. After the show the Demon and I were having a beer and a man came up and said he’d made a painting for The Residents and would we give it to them.  It was pretty large and old and delicate. He’d wrapped it in paper and I guess he carried it under his arm all night. He was very nice and humble and said it wasn’t a very good painting, but it was about them and for them and so he wanted to offer it to them.  I told him that the problem with the painting is that now the Residents would have to get it home, and that he should send it to Euro Ralph and they could make sure they got it. I wanted to be honest with him and told him that if I took it back to them now, no matter how much they liked it, it would likely be left behind because it’s hard to carry old paintings in your luggage unless they are tiny. Now I wish I had just taken the painting and given it to them, cause I think he won’t try to give it to them now. He was very mild mannered. It was a slap in the face-all he wants is the idea that his gift has been received. He’d never know one way or another what the painting’s fate was.

ATHENS
WED
MARCH 12 2003

Omonia Square 

I love getting off an airplane and taking a bus onto a highway and seeing signs in another language. Athens is preparing itself for the 2004 Olympics, and the change begins at the new airport. It’s very clean and modern. The highways are new and there are an insane number of signs for Time Out magazine.  Our hotel is smack dab in the center of town and scooters, taxis cars and dirt bikes zoom along nonstop. There is a café downstairs with tables outside. Lots of kiosks and lots and lots of tall stray dogs, which get fed kabob meat by the nice junkies who panhandle and score across the street. I have been looking forward to Greece all tour and now that we are safely here, I just want to sleep. But really I want to eat.

F will come in two days. Then we will travel around for 8 days. Then I will go back to San Francisco and I don’t know what I will do there. I hate thinking about the other life right now, but it all comes back because soon the clock strikes midnight and this is over. Can’t go back to the grocery store. Must find different work. What fulfills all the time? This is pretty manic, and I am always thrown for a loop when I get home. Someone told me on the Icky tour that “they New York Times had an article” about how the adrenaline rush of performing is equal to that of being in a car accident! Could that be true?


But my urban legend believing self says that it’s true, and that maybe that’s why I feel so batty when I get home and why it’s so hard to feel good when I’m not doing anything tangible. Performing and touring especially is so lovely, the bitter sweetness of coming and going all the time.  It’s harder to stay put for me. Would I be spiritually stronger if I stopped performing? Gave it up and did things in the real, interacting with other people world? I love this life, I always am happiest on tour. Maybe its’ just performing a function that I’m happy about. 

THURS
March 14 2003

STILL ATHENS

GAGARIN
 

Love it here. Love the food. Say it again, stupid: I love the food here.     
We got taken out and fed well by our hosts. It was a pretty trendy restaurant, a nice place, and there was a skinny black kitty in there trying to jump on laps of people eating fish!  It’s so great here. So different. Imagine that happening at T.G.I. Fridays or some Yuppie place in the states.
I don’t really want to pet a kitty with conjunctivitis, but I like the relaxed and animal loving attitude it represents.

 Went to the Acropolis yesterday with bim and mippy. I have so enjoyed their company on this tour. I almost missed the chance because when they called I was still napping and said “no, I just want to sleep” and then I realized it might be the only time in our lives that bim and mippy and I would have the chance to go to the Acropolis together, and it’s a beautiful sunny day today, and they say the weather’s been and will be shit so I put on my shoes and dashed out the door to find them, only to be told they’d just left. I stood in the downstairs cafe, bleary eyed and bummed, with my shoes untied, trying to figure out what to do when I heard my name being called.  It was bim! He’d forgotten his camera and they’d come back to get it. It was the happiest moment, when you think you’ve lost it all and suddenly you’ve gained it all back.  We had a jolly day walking around the Plaka and sitting on some lovely old rocks near the Acropolis and leisurely having some snacks at an outdoor café. We were wearing short sleeves and all the Athenians are in down jackets. I guess 70 degrees is cold here. Must be nice. 

+++++++++++

Say it and it happens. Tonight was one of those nights I felt like I might have an aneurysm! “Stoopidly” I had an espresso at the restaurant about an hour before the show.  I never have coffee before a show because I know that I don’t need caffeine. However, I got no sleep last night and was so dang tired that I got one simply to get thru dressing for the show!
Well…

The f***ing crowd was INSANE.  It was packed down there and Greek people are so passionate and expressive and they were excited and there were a lot of them and there was this very electric vibe, and I was instantly sorry I’d had the coffee. Our dressing rooms are upstairs, and you can peek thru a curtain and look at the crowd below, which is sometimes not a good idea because you will be overwhelmed if you have had too much coffee. So while putting my stuff on my heart was beating too fast for my liking and my mouth was dry in that nonquenchable way.  It’s the drama student in me, but performing in the birthplace of theatre makes me feel all nervous and shaky, like the Gods are watching and you’d better know your sh**. I say a healthy respect for the Gods can’t be bad. It was not really a show I sounded all that good in, but overall we had a lot of energy and it’s great that we have another night in the same venue so we can do it more sensitively. 

MARCH 16 2003 

ATHENS YES

Finished.  Slept really in today. Separation anxiety cause all the others are gone. They all caught flights out around 4 in the morning, poor dears. Now I am apart from them and feeling like “what am I doing here?” But F is here now and we are going to have an adventure. It’s just a new adventure. I woke up early to very loud yelling outside in the streets. I grabbed F’s video camera and ran down in my pajamas. There were thousands of people protesting the war that seems only seconds away.  I followed the crowd for a while and felt happy to be out in the sunlight with absolutely nowhere to be and no responsibilities for 8 days. Then the reality of this impending war hit me, and I tried to imagine what it feels like to prepare for death and destruction, and how absolutely terrified people are right now. Things can change on a dime. Here I am, here are my concerns, and I always feel annoyed by people who try to empathize with the suffering of others so much that they kind of see things as a surrogate victim - I mean I guess you owe it to life and to your own life to enjoy your experiences when they’re good but try not to believe or disbelieve them too much.

The crowd last night was bigger than the night before. We had a lot of technical nightmares pre-show and we all hit the stage not knowing what would happen, but all went well and we had a fine last show. It was tense going out there wondering if everything would work, and usually it’s nice to kind of toast your last night and enjoy that all your hard work is done, but not this time.

There was a totally annoying woman in the audience both last night and the night before. She needs a lot of attention, I guess, because she was so vocal and gestural (and she was standing right in front of the stage) that she actually became part of the show. Sorry, baby, we already have a demon!
We seemed to be having a staring contest during “Shoe Salesman” but I won because I have not much to do that requires me to stop staring at you during that song. She was weird and all I can figure is that she wants to be the center of attention and if she can’t get your attention by being sexy or flattering you with cheers, she’ll just be loud, like a 4 year old. 

So this is the end of our European leg. We did it and now I am in Greece on my own with a little money in my pocket. Who knows when or if the next tour will be? You have to treat it like it may be your last time to tour cause this is not a money machine. Time to go enjoy touring as a civilian….

 end

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