October 16th 2018 | 1’30am: Three hours until the nightliner that will pick me up for the Reflective Dimensions tour is supposed to arrive. Finished all packing just three hours ago. Usually I am even more last minute than this, I am almost proud of myself. Boxes in the stairway, half a “forest to go” on the terrace.
And the “magic suitcase”, a small suitcase with all kinds of items that one could need to improvise at an exhibition, from cable tie, knife & scissors to ducktape, glue & rope. It sounds actually like the contents of a kill bag and makes me wonder what the Swiss border patrol might have to say to it, they always liked to search through my stuff when I visited in the past. In my defense, the suitcase also contains a sketchbook, pens and pencils and some business cards. I’d be a bad killer if I leave the later behind. My personal luggage is minimized, I always prefer to travel light. Just a small backpack with most necessary clothes only, a notebook bag and a very small handbag that is actually my sponge bag. Sponge bag is a funny word by the way, the German word is “Kulturtasche”, translating to “culture bag”, which is funny as well. Culture definded by items to keep yourself clean. Obviously all the Brits need for this is a sponge.
After a short attempt of sleep I am discarding the idea, after all, none of my tour mates of the coming days is asleep now, the show is on the road already, kicking Dresden tonight, so why not jump into schedule right now. I have never slept in a bus before, so I am very curious about this experience. It will also be strange to be so close to a bunch of other humans for some days, none of them I have met in person so far. My imagination of a bus bathroom makes me cringe a bit, but I am comforting myself with the thought that a nightliner is not a public transport bus, I am totally convinced this will be great.
[Actually, this is were the tour diary ends already, before the tour even started. Everything else I have written a few days after the tour, back home. I simply missed the time on the road to keep up with my writing schedule…]
October 25th: Last Sunday afternoon I returned from a wild ride, the Reflective Dimensions Tour organized by QUANTHEON Touring. If you ever visited a show organized by them, you know these shows are quite different form the ususal gigs, with a very special flair, decoration and art attached.
I joined the tour the night before the Erfurt gig and entered the nightliner at 5am. It’s a strange feeling to start touring like this, when everyone is living in the bus since days already and you actually don’t know anyone personally, some internet contacts aside. Someone with a Scandinavian accent offered me wine upon entry, but I declined and went to bed, which felt like climbing into a shoebox. Luckily I am a small person, so I could stretch myself completely in it. Surprisingly I also got at least a bit of sleep before Erfurt. As most people were sleeping already when I entered the bus, apart from the two winedrinkers and the tour management, I got to meet the whole horde the next day, when we all woke up in Erfurt. But it was a good welcome and everyone made it easy for me to be “the tour newbie”. Special thanks to the frontman of Asphagor, who was the first one to talk to me and offered me a seat after I woke up.
My initial plan to write a tour diary was quickly abandoned. After two days I found myself responsible for the decoration part of the events, because we lost a tour member in Vienna. It turned out to be a lot of fun and everyone was content with my work, even me. The killbag came in handy for the job, too.
Usually, we arrived at some place to do immediate loading. I almost never left my bed much earlier, because sleep (or, if impossible, at least rest) is one of the three things I need on the road. The other two ones are food & beer and an occassional shower. Apart from that it makes me happy to have people with a brain around, even that wish was granted on this tour. From interesting to inspiring I have met a few great persons who I hope to see again some day.
When you wake up in a different location every day, the details quickly become blurry without notes, so I will not write about every event in epic lenght. I remember one night, after a gig, I only woke up half, with one foot still in a dream. I had no idea where I was, in which direction we were going or what had happened. I had to wake up completely to realize that I was in a nightliner with more than 20 people closely around. By the way, the bathroom of the bus stayed a place that I avoided as much as possible. It was not dirty like the ones in a public transport of course, nevertheless I did not feel comfortable squeezed into the plastic box while the bus was moving around.
While on the road, I got a message from home, telling me that when I return, I should make sure the nightliner will turn off its engine. Obviously my leave had awaken all the neighbourhood and there were some complaints. Dear (former) neighbourhood, I am very sorry I have disturbed you one time, after I have been silent about you mowing your lawn early mornings when I still sleep after a long work night, or doing construction work. One and a half years I swallowed down every complaint I could have had. But let me tell you one thing that I have learned from our very nice bus driver W. You can’t just turn the engine off in a nightliner at any given point of time. Because if you do, that thing might not start up again and would block your road for half an eternity. Did you ever leave your radio on in a car, or the lights, and wondered later, why your car won’t start? Well. A nightliner hosts more than 20 people, air condition, lights, electricity outlets. Do the math! Luckily I came home with a small private bus during daytime.
My special highlight location was definetely Stuttgart (Club Zentral), space, showers & the immensely good catering were perfect. And a friend who came to the show bringing some special beers for me made it even better. And thanks for helping me pack up in the end T., this way we had time to find out what a nightliner’s bar has to offer when all beers are gone. The evening was intense in many ways, including a breakdown in a street of someone who obviously should not smoke… things. But hey, no details, some things that happen on tour, stay on tour. But every location had something special or a special visitor, in Vienna I met my old friend Gerhard of Allerseelen, even if the visit was brief, it was good to see you again old mate! We also stopped in Innsbruck and Olten, the last location of the tour being a vast hall and a paradise for decoration. Not so much a paradise of catering though. It was the first night I went to bed very hungry and ate all my nut supply while half asleep already, that I had kept for exactly such a case. Oh, and before I forget, thank you staff of the Erfurt location From Hell for the nice extra drinks and for the attempt, to take me into town late at night for more, I would have followed your invite, but I had a date with a nightliner already.
All in all, I had a blast touring with this wild horde. It was a lot of work, yes, often under time pressure, but who knows me also knows that I like challenges. And there did not pass one day without special moments of happiness to be a part of this production. Musically, I liked all the bands a lot, I didn’t even get tired of watching the same shows (they are never really the same though) more than once. Totalselfhatred was a complete surprise for me, I didn’t know the band before the tour, I watched ALL their shows from beginning to end, because they are just so fukking good. Their music has become a work soundtrack of many nights since then.
Many many thanks to everyone involved to make this happen. Specially to Diana & Chris from QUANTHEON Touring who organized the whole thing. I’d share a bus with you again any time! And many thanks to Arroganz, for driving me home in the end.