I didn’t want to cause any of my dear readers unnecessary concern, but I was pretty sleep-deprived those last couple weeks before leaving for tour. I’m happy to report I’ve made some progress in that department since fleeing the country. While I chose to devote my ten-hour flight to watching movies generously termed “classic” by KLM Airlines (Butch Cassidy, The Matrix, Ocean’s Eleven and Mrs. Doubtfire), upon arriving at my brother’s flat in the Museum District of Amsterdam I promptly slept seven hours until 7 PM. Then we went out for a few hours, and then I slept eight more until the morning. Then four more. Then another two hour nap in the evening.
All good things considering my first appearance on tour was last night at a bar/cafe called ‘Skek in central Amsterdam. The room was charming, with lots of wood and a balcony and little stage. I played two sets, the first of which I felt was more solid than the second, both on my part and on the part of a certain critical mass of audience members being at least partway tuned in to the performance. I don’t know, how does a lyrics-focused songwriter evaluate a show where the audience doesn’t speak the same language? I don’t have a real way to gauge how much that difference was a barrier to engagement with my songs. I have to guess that many of them listen to English-language music. At any rate, this show was a first for a lot of elements that put me out of my comfort zone. Performing on my own without a band, which I do sometimes, but it definitely feels less safe in a place where you know nobody. Performing to a crowd of nearly complete strangers. And performing with my hat! You guys, I’m glad not to have it on my head when I’m riding the train or boarding the plane, but on that stage I sho’ nuff miss my hat.
Anyway, I don’t want you to think it went badly or anything. It was a perfectly fine noisy bar show. A good reminder of a lot of the best practices of performance I’ve learned over the past few years. Stay present in the song, not in your head. Don’t demand attention, give attention.
Now I’ve about a week of family time before heading to Chicago, where the real work starts.