Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ray's Tour Diary: Best Week Ever?

My sense of time may no longer be the most reliable thing in the world having been in too many cities in too few days. The week I'm talking about might actually have spanned a full ten days without my realizing it. But it's worth blogging about.

After playing two nights in Manchester, the Killers left the UK to attack the European continent starting in Amsterdam. Now, as far as Amsterdam is concerned, I don't know why, when allegedly 75% of Americans don't have a passport, 18-year olds aren't asking their respective parents en masse for a visa and a ticket to Amsterdam instead of Vegas. It being my first time in Holland, I couldn't help thinking how Amsterdam makes Las Vegas look like Sunday school. I missed my bike terribly and am still kicking myself for not finding out about the rentals available all over the city. Debauchery aside, it is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities I've ever been in, a real life manifestation of Candy-Land. The fact that the gig was canceled due to a bomb threat was taken quite well by the Killers' crew as it made for a bonus night off in Amsterdam (who knew so many people had it out for IKEA?). Not only that, it guarantees a makeup date for the gig meaning I'll be back in Amsterdam before I know it when I'll be sure to capitalize on a bike rental opportunity.

Gorgeous day off

Bicycle envy

Pastry Porn

Brian XIV's wonderful fiancee, Kirsten arrived in Amsterdam

Night off

After Amsterdam, we set out on a three city tour of Germany including Dusseldorf, Berlin, and Munich. One thing about the German fans, they totally dig the new Killers stuff and so I totally dig them. After exploring Berlin with BKXIV, I met up with my lovely pal, Devon Sproule, whom was serendipitously playing on the other side of town on the same night as the Killers at the Admiralspalast. She was just wrapping up a tour of her own of the UK and Europe and was set to go home the next day when we found out we were in the same city. For our English readers, if you happen to be in London on May 14th, check Devon out at Shepherd's Bush Empire where she'll be headlining and kicking your ass. I'll admit I'm disappointed as the Killers will be their fiftieth leg of a US tour by then.

Dev's Sound Check

Andy's new do

Cornell and Devspro

In Munich, I met up with another old friend from lifetimes ago. Hayato Naka, currently assistant principal 2nd violinist of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, was playing in Munich on our day off. I met Hayato when I was 15 at a Music Festival in Saluzzo, Italy where I found out I didn't have the discipline or drive to practice the requisite 10 hours a day to become a professional classical violinist. It was a nice change of perspective to hear a professional orchestra rehearse again. I had flashbacks to when I used to fall asleep during rehearsals and theirs was no different as I nodded off during Petrushka. However, I have to admit it was refreshing, after almost two years since playing with the La Jolla Symphony, to hear the warmth of sound that only an orchestra in a concert hall can create, completely unlike the orchestral tracks that have been substituted into the sound of so many a rock band. Yada yada yada, Hofbrauhausen, liter steins, crackling roast pig, etc. etc.

Bergen Philharmonic Sound Check


In Milan (vaguely) today, woefully far from the city center. I'm off to figure out how I'm going to get in a city stroll before sound check.

Ciao ciao.

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