"Renaissance Tour, Germany - Summer 1999"
I am writing this in August 1999.
It has been five weeks since I came back from my 3 week tour all over Germany
and I still can't stop thinking about it. It was truly one of the most
rewarding, successful, exhausting, growing, wonderful experiences of my life.
16 shows in 21 days, each gig lasting for at least 2 hours, with venues
ranging from beautiful cafes, smoky bars, cabaret clubs, outdoor stages
and pristine concert halls. As an artist I felt challenged and appreciated.
Bassist, Tim Schroder
Lord Bishop, a musician/promoter, organized
the entire tour. He didn"t
promise more than he could deliver, but delivered more than I ever expected.
He arranged for a wonderful drummer named Gero and bassist Tim to play with
me. I sent tapes of my music to them, they learned it on their own, we
rehearsed only twice and did the shows. Some shows I played with just Gero.
They were great musicians who played appropriate to the song and brought
their own magic and spirit into each performance.
Outdoor festival in Greiz Me showing off my new guitar to LB and Anya
We started out in the West in Koln and spent
the middle section all over the
Eastern part of Germany. We played small towns and cities. I was struck by
how well each venue promoted the shows. Gero and Tim both had cars so we'd
drive to a town, not knowing where to go, and see posters of me hanging on
telephone polls...so in many cases we just followed the posters to the venue.
Gig at Kabaret Keller in Meinz
Talking to many of the people who grew up
in East Germany was fascinating.
Before the wall came down, life in this small town of Zwicau was very
different. After 10pm it was like a ghost town. You didn't hear live music
from pubs. The buildings were all painted grey. If singer/songwriters
wanted to perform, they would do it in private at small house parties.
Nothing was recorded. However, there was a sense of community among the people
and less fear of what would happen to them financially. Many older people now have so
much trouble finding work, and even knowing how to go about it. They feel
discrimitated against by the West Germans.
First Gig in at Cafe Fleur in Koln Stiff and Rebecca opened their home to us
One woman said she came to my show because
I was from New York. She didn't
see a concert until she was 30yrs old. "You give such open displays of
emotion. It moves me so much!" she told me. A man sitting on a stool in
shivered and said, "I don't understand the words, but I understand the
feelings. My heart is beating so fast. Thank you for your songs and your
spirit." A man named Thomas travelled miles to see a second show and deliver
pictures he took of me at the outdoor festival in Greiz. These are unique
moments I cherish.
Recording in studio, end of tour "The Gang" - Jamie, Tim, Lord Bishop, Gero, me
Overall, I learned so much and grew as an
artist and a person. I gave as
much honesty and energy as I could and got back so much of it in return. I
wasn't "performing" but rather "being". My playing and singing improved
dramatically. We recorded a live show from Berlin and also in the recording
studio in Koln. These are some of the best recordings I have made because of how real and raw it is. It reflects where I am and where I am going.
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