Tonight was amazing! We performed in Varnsdorf at a brewery called Kocour. We originally were scheduled to perform in the town theatre, Městské divadlo. However, the theatre’s artistic director, Martin, who booked us, decided to move our show to the Brewery. Apparently, more people are likely to attend a concert at the Brewery than at the theatre. Clearly, it was a smart choice because our concert was sold out! There was standing room only either outside or by the bar. Martin told us it was the best turnout they have ever had.
The Brewery is gorgeous. The grounds are massive with views of rolling green hills and lush forests. The pub is modern and massive with high vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace, and big brass-colored beer vats on display.
The band sounded so tight! Lukas described it perfectly – we were like a living organism, breathing together, moving together. I loved my sound in the monitor and I always sing so much better and easier when I have great sound. Roman played super funky and colorful and Tomas’ solo on “Come To Me” was stunning.
This morning I woke up with an idea for a song. I wrote the lyrics and melody in my apartment and then went down to the Reduta jazz club to write the chords on the piano. I scribbled the chords on a piece of scratch paper (I forgot to bring manuscript paper on the tour, argh) and made a demo recording on my iPhone to send to the band. The song is called “It’s Comin’” and we ran it at sound check.
We decided we would do the song as one of the encores. We played our two sets and returned for encores at the request of roaring applause, hoots and hollers. But I chickened out! I said to the guys that we should just do “Save Your Love For Me.” Lukas smiled and offered quietly but firmly (which is his way), “I think we should do the new tune.” I knew I had to trust him. He is the musical director for the tour, he picked the perfect musicians for the band, and he’s playing his ass off. He has that special combination of personal ease, diplomacy, and musical vision that makes you respect his leadership.
It felt so risky to me, to be naked and vulnerable to the audience, with something so new I still had the lyrics on a cheat sheet and the melody barely in my brain. The payoff turned out to be one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Wow! Tomas translated to the audience that I had just written the song that morning and they were the first audience to hear it. The audience clapped and hollered in response and then quieted in anticipation. I breathed into the adrenaline running through my body and after a tentative beginning to the first verse, I closed my eyes and committed to giving the song everything I had.
After the show, Martin had an after-party for us at the pub. I tried the Gypsy beer, very dark and strong. Tomas ordered me a cherry tomato salad with garlic and olive oil and the fresh bread that is made on site. It was delicious! I made a bunch of new friends, Zuzka, Maria, another Martin, Eva, Klara, Kate, and Katka. Just before leaving the pub for our hotel, Klara gave me her multicolored beaded necklace she was wearing. The joy of making so many new friends has me inviting everyone to New York — forgetting that I have a small one-bedroom apartment.
We stayed at the charming Atrium Hotel last night and I went running in the morning through the quiet town. Varnsdorf is located right on the border of Germany and many Germans came to the show last night. While on my run, one of my new friends from last night drove by! He stopped the car to tell me he would send photos from the concert and hoped I would come back to very soon.
Kocour is hosting a beer festival today and Martin drove us over to get our gear and have lunch. I couldn’t stop wishing that my brother, Scott, who knows more about beer than I know about anything, were here with me.
Martin told us the town used to have many wealthy people in it before WWII truly devastated it. There are many beautiful old churches and mansions that sit empty with broken windows and cracked walls. We drove down the winding road, on to our next show, passing an overgrown stone bunker that had been built into the hill as a hideout from the enemy troops. My thoughts were on my own journey to this lovely place, and I felt sad and overwhelmed.