"I’m still alive!!!!! I have survived Amsterdam’s red light district and we have parted on the best of terms. I slither out of my designated sarcophagus back to reality. I then stepped outside to face (AHHHHHHH!) sunlight. Of all days, why did today have to be sunny and clear with nothing to protect me from God’s flashlight? It was the first time I could actually hear ultra violet rays crashing into my temples. Duncan, Chris, Tim and Paul are waiting outside for the remaining survivors.
Before I could utter a word, from the distance came … (warrrf!) ......WARRRRRFF!!! .....WARRRRFF!!!! A Weimeraner (German for: dog with really hard to spell breed name) runs between us and dives directly into a nearby river of unspeakable shit. I couldn’t help but wonder, ”What was that dog trying to clean off of itself that it needed to bathe in brown hell?” Before I could finish that thought, Fido ran back out, straight up to us, and shook himself dry. Uuuuuuuuuhhh!!!!! Filth laced dog wet!!!! Please God!!! Tell me my mouth was closed!!!! Shortly thereafter, I prayed a secret prayer that the dog would run into the bus to wake up the rest of the crew. “Slurp! Slurp! Slurp!” “Huh? What’s up with the dog?...What’s that smell?”
Finally, with rest of the crew awake, we ventured for the nearest café. As it turns out, they actually sell coffee in some of these joints (Note the clever pun. Thank you! Thank you. I’ll be here all week). Problem is, you actually have to request COFFEE and try to seem like you’re not speaking in code. We were offered an array of “republican’s worst nightmare” before they realized we just wanted CAFFEINE.
In retrospect, I now realize the futility of our actions since we trounced straight back into the friendly neighborhood “Red Light” district to the nearest bar (Can you say “group intervention?). The freaks are ten times more annoying in the daylight. One of the locals walked around wearing a flower pot on his head (Oh yeah. I get it. The pot! On his head. Amsterdam! Ah Ha! Knee slapper!) and performing what, I guess, he felt was expressive dance, mime, or child birth.
I was entranced by the vision of beauty who was serving us beer. A beautiful waifish blond who seemed like she could go toe to toe with even the most brutal of drunks. “Pardon me. I was I wondering if I could get a picture with you” “No!” My sexual prowess is pretty much nonexistent (white bass player). Hm! Maybe I’ll drink more Amstel and ask her again. Then she’ll be impressed. “Come on (burp!) One witdsy bidtsy picture. You am me”. “Please leave me alone!” Chris giggled like a sorority girl backstage at a GG Allen concert…….I don’t know what that means.
We arrived at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer (don’t even asked me to try and pronounce that) at around 4:30. A really cool club! Spacious. New. Clean. Nice facilities. The shortest staff member was about 6’5” and physically imposing with a gruff Flemish accent. These guys could have said “I am going to eat your head” and we would just have nodded in agreement and hid under the bus.
Fortunately, for us, they were a really great group of people. We loaded in the gear and were set up in a no time flat (The Mean Fiddler load in made everything else a walk in the park). After yelling “Eeeeecchhh!!” into the microphones, the monitor guy of the crew lowered Ray’s mike stand down to about his kneecaps. When Ray asked if this was jab at his stature, the soundman offered “Would you like me to get you a crate to stand on?”. These guys were cool.
After sound check, we all poured into the bar for a delicious meal. The dinner was prepared and served, lovingly, by a motherly chef. Judging by the stature of De Boerderij staff this woman was no stranger to serving large and healthy portions. She stuck around to make sure we all ate our vegetables and made “happy plates” for her. We then all got in line and she burped each and every one of us including Joe….All right, I made that part up. But I will always remember her as our “Mom in Zoetermeer”. While you’re a stranger in a strange land, it’s a relief to come across someone who treats you like family.
The stage volume was louder than I am used to but it still sounded good to me and I wasn’t about tell Conan, Lord of the Monitor, how to do his job. While on stage, I noticed our friend Heike Mueller stage right, who we had met over the summer at Nearfest. I didn’t realize how busy my bass parts were until I was trying to find time during Georgia Pine to throw a “How ya doin?!” wave her way.
After load out, I walked into the club to do the ritual “dummy” check to make sure we didn’t leave anything or anyone behind. Suddenly, from around the corner of the stage, I heard BPPPPPPPRAAAAUUMMMM!!!!!!! Conan is driving his motorcycle inside of the club, getting ready to make his exit for the evening. He stopped to show us his BADASS ride, of which I believe, he had built himself. The seat was stainless steal. That’s friggin badass!!!! He roared out of the exit doors. Joe and I turned and looked at each other “That guy is cool!!”.
My last thought of the day was being scolded by a young woman for riding in such an environmentally unfriendly vehicle (the bus). I presume she was an advocate of the Netherlands Green party. While I’m all for saving the planet, I’m not quite sure where she expected us to find or afford a solar powered tour bus at three in the morning. She gave me a nasty look, tossed her foam coffee cup aside, finished blowing her pot smoke into the atmosphere and went off to her “Nuke the Gay Whales for Jesus” rally.