Dresden was a wildcard...an off-the-usual-touring-route for most bands, deep in eastern germany where the orange and brown polyester furniture echoes the commie era and the vibe is still very different from west german cities. It's poorer, it's bleaker and it also happened to get, oh, flattened in the war. Headed into the old town (I'd been once, back in 96 when I was living in regensburg) and walked around in the blistering cold, marveling at the beauty and visiting the newly restored fraunkirche. This huge, gorgeous church was pummeled in the bombing and the ruins were left standing by the DDR as a reminder of western evil. When the wall came down, they worked on the restoration which was just completed for the 60th anniversary of the firebombing.
We had no idea if people would show up for the concert, but in the end about 600+ folks showed up and it was one of the best concerts of the tour so far. Whatever it was in the air that was caused by the band name was palpable and we felt more embraced than in any other city....highlights included a big black banner in the crowd that read “welcome home in dresden” and a few dresdeners after the show coming to us and saying how genuinely proud they felt that we had named the band after their town, that we honored them. Holy shit. Weeping-worthy stuff.
The show in Cologne last night took a turn south as Brian and I bickered about bullshit up til showtime and I found myself completely distracted by the petty arguments echoing in my head during the show (about the same old bullshit....control issues, who's in charge of what, who has rights to stay and leave and call the shots for whom and on and on and god it's tiresome) and not fully able to concentrate on what I was doing until halfway through the set, which is rare and having PMS made it even harder to let the shit drop and just focus. One of the worst, and rare, parts of our otherwise mostly wonderful bandship is that we fucking love to argue and we can never let an argument end. When we get into let's-address-the-issue mode, we're both “....and another thing!...” types and this causes endless late soundchecks and bus departures while we go on and on at each other. It's very spinal tap, it's very typical for people in bands in general, and it's always been like this, but granted: it's getting way better than it used to be and our love for each other and the band grows ever deeper. There seems to be a two-three week point on every tour where the happy bubble bursts and everyone starts getting whinier and pissier.
On a brighter note, I'm slowly and painfully sifting through the 1000+ photos I've taken on my new digital camera since september and working on a fully captioned (sights! sounds! smells!) tour diary of the past six months. I'm trying to figure out whether to start at the beginning or the end....
I have resolved to cut coffee, sugar, beer and cigarettes out of my diet for the next three days, til we hit france. What was once (two short weeks ago) a very mild and harmless chocolate habit has grown into an ugly, wild-eyed addiction and I've been drinking not tons, but enough to leave me feeling crusty in the morning. Basta. Having quit smoking about two years ago, I'm still one of those annoying people who will ask you for a drag of your cigarette and then hold it there, worshipping it's smoking papery holiness like it's a bar of gold (“handrolled by god and licked shut by the claudia schiffer's pussylips” in the words of our hero bill hicks) before inhaling and sorrowfully returning it. Nasty habit, that, got to stop.
Every few days Brian or I will look at each other and one of us will say “we're opening up for nine inch nails this spring”. Then we'll observe a moment of stunned silence, then we'll pretend-faint and then we'll hop up and down a little. It should be an excellent tour, we're waiting on the word from herr reznor to see whether living statues in the theater lobbies will jive with the NIN aesthetic.