Dear friends and fans from across the globe and beyond,
What you’re going to read is a destined-to-fail attempt to recall what exactly happened during our gigs in Europe in the last weeks. It’s destined to fail because, of course, nobody really knows what exactly happened.
Berlin: the mystery of existence
Anyway, there we were, bags packed on the autobahn heading to the deep north of Germany. Wow. The first two hours the trip went alright. Then we felt like we wanted to go back. Go back home. Put our asses on the sofa and get hypnotized by television. But that didn’t happen, luckily. So, somehow we got to Berlin. At midnight we were entering the part of town previously known as East Berlin. We had managed to stand the German fm radios – the peak had been a German rendition of Roy Orbison’s Pretty woman, really unbelievable. We spent part of our first night getting to know local beer – really good and extremely cheap, which is a problem – and also had a chance to taste the kartoffeln salad (which was wonderful, just don’t do that at 3,45 in the morning).
The day after we made the tourists – last time I had been in Berlin was exactly 10 years ago: Alexanderplatz, Unter Den Linden and so on. At 6 pm we were at the club. As we got there and knocked on the door, the man came out and said: ‘Look, I got to go now, got to do something. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.’ ‘Can we just get the instruments in?’ ‘No’.
And that was the beginning of a difficult night. Alright. There was a bar close to there so we took a seat and waited until the man came back. Then the man came back. We got the instruments in and started our sound check. Everything went alright until came the Australian bartender. The Australian bartender is a man who has lots and lots and lots of huge problems in his life. So he is angry. Always. All the time. For, apparently, no reason. He started making problems over almost everything – too loud, too heavy, quiet it down, quieter, quieter – at some point I thought that he may also tell me what kind of shirt I should have put on for the show. Anyway, we’re Italians, you know, we know how to fix things up.
So show time came, we played our set and everything went alright. Every now and then the Aussie bartender would come out and make signs to quiet it down. Last time he did it I was in the middle of a call-and-response with the audience, so it was easy to turn things right for me. I started goin’ “A little bit quieter now, a little bit louder now’. People were singing and dancing and cheering all over the place, so he never came out again. Later on when we played the showstopper of our set – a folkish rendition of Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles – the man surrendered and came front stage shaking something that made the sound of maracas with an idiot smile upon his idiot face.
So we did it. The show went right and everybody looked happy. Later on I had a chance to meet the Aussie bartender right out of the male toilets: as I walked out he stared at me, put his right hand on my shoulder and went: ‘Great show man’. I smiled gently, and answered accordingly: ‘Figlio di puttana’ (son of a bitch, in Italian). A couple of minutes later, my eyes were lost into the deep blue sky over Berlin, and I was wondering over the mystery of existence.
Hamburg: little babies in Wonderland
The morning after Berlin was gone. We were stuck in a jam on the Autobahn. Looked like half of the German population was heading to the northern coast to enjoy the cold waters of the Northern Sea. Anyway. When we got to Hamburg the sky was black and heavy water was pouring down. We parked close enough to the club and remained in the car waiting for the rain to stop. While we were there, a guy knocked on the windshield. Paolo, who is a gentle, simple boy, rolled down the window to ask what the guy wanted. The guy was drunk. Nonetheless Paolo took a couple of minutes to inform him that we were an Italian band and we were going to perform at the festival held in the club just around the corner. I tried to point out to Paolo that the guy was drunk and that he was clearly going to throw up – and that it would have been a good idea to roll up the window to avoid the worse. Finally Paolo rolled up the window just a few seconds before the guy passed out on the hood of our car and then slowly fell on the boardwalk. In the meanwhile the rain had stopped. We got to the club.
The place is really great and the guys were really friendly and very kind. We had four ours before the show so we decided to take a stroll through town. We got to the port and mixed ourselves to the locals enjoying their Saturday afternoon. It took half an hour before it started raining heavily again. We got back to the club, had our dinner and listened to the gigs of the other artists. At 10 pm we were on stage. A wonderful audience in Hamburg – I remember that by the time we were playing the third song of our set a thought exploded in my mind: ‘I never, never, never again want to play in Italy’. Anyway, it was a really good show, we had a lot of fun and the people too. I thanked the audience at the end of the show, and that was a great moment, difficult to explain, but it was a great moment, and it’s gonna stay with me for a long time. I wrote those songs at my kitchen table in last December and now I was playing them to this wonderful audience so far from home – and they really liked them. Happiness, period.
We hanged at the club for a couple of hours after the show. Then we got to the hotel. It was 3 am when we got in the hall of the Kogge Hotel. Which is a bar. With loud music. And people all over smoking pot and drinking. The girl at the bar took us to our rooms, just one wall away from the bar. ‘At what time the music stops at the bar?’, I asked her. She smiled. Then said: ‘6 am. But don’t worry. You’ll find earplugs in your rooms. Do you want the welcome shot?’ The welcome shot? ‘Sure’, I answered. A couple of minutes later, Paolo, Francesco and I were hanging at the Kogge’s bar. I leaned over to the girl and asked: ‘What can we have for the welcome shot?’ ‘Jack Daniels. No choice.’ ‘Alright’. We stayed at the bar for don’t remember how long, we signed the guestbook, had a couple more welcome shots and then got back to our rooms, plugged our ears and fell asleep like little babies in Wonderland.