GRAVELROAD News Tour blog – European Kickoff

Tour blog – European Kickoff

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And it begins …

April 30, 2014

Chorzow, Poland –

Tour is underway.  It’s our first time playing in all of these cities.  It’s exciting not knowing exactly how the tour will go.  Joe Johnson is joining us for the first time on tour … and Kirby is not able to complete the entire tour, so there will be a lot of dynamism occurring during the course of these 3 weeks.  I can’t wait to see what happens!

We arrived midday on the 28th of April.  The flights were about as reasonable as possible (thank you in flight movies) but none of us got any sleep.  I think the subsequent sleep-deprivation was a bit of a treat really since we had such a soft-landing  in Poland, it almost invited us to let go of any stress left behind in the US and prepare us for the tour.

Our first show was at a venue whose name translates as “The Drawers.” The name was derived from the art and design of the place: there were a series of cabinet drawers suspended open around the two-story club.  My favorites were the ones suspended from the ceiling round the bar with 3-4” holes drilled through them where lights were dropped through.

The place was packed with people.  We really were uncertain what kind of crowd to expect, as this was our first performance in Poland.  Would they like our music?  Would our sound be too loud or heavy? Also, would we have a consistent energy throughout the show or would we hit a wall from travel exhaustion?

We quickly got answers that we were exactly where we were supposed to be.  The crowd – a slightly older audience – gave us affirmation that we were doing them right by our music.  This was not a dancing audience, but they held strong through the set.

There were hiccups in our set – I had a big one when I started to go into the wrong song on the set list, Stefan and Kirby had a couple of brain-farts, & Joe couldn’t hear very well (which had to suck for him, as it was probably nerve-wracking enough just to be trying to get this first show under his belt).  But we never let any challenges stop us or derail us.  Guitar tones were sweet.  The backlined gear was excellent.  It was a very strong start to the tour.

After the set was when we got a great deal of validation.  The crowd was so much fun.  Lots of pictures, laughter, autographs, and the like.  It’s always a great relief to get the first show completed.  It feels tremendously satisfying to receive the sort of reception in a new country that we got.

This was especially true for me.  After taking the last couple of years to make an important change for me – becoming a father and wanting to suspend my touring for the sake of being an active and involved parent for my family – this was invigorating.  I had not lost my sense of wonder with travel and touring after our last tour in early 2012, but I was also very ready for a break.

The first rock-n-roll song I introduced my daughter to was AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top if you Want to Rock n Roll.”  At just over a year-and-a-half she could tell me where the bagpipes kicked in (smart kid!).  Ask anyone that has spent time on the road – and there’s a helluva lot of musicians schlepping around more than me – it can be glamorous for an hour or so on the stage but the rest of the time is often maddening, mundane, stressful, or infuriating.

I can tell you that it’s wonderful to be doing what I love and loving doing it.  Again, we are right where we are supposed to be. – MR