STAYS IN PRAGUE...Or at least our van did.
We showed up to Prague, set for a good time as we had some friends awaiting our arrival to show us around. We had no clue of what was in store. First off, we walked across the street from our hotel for a quick bite to eat and a beer. I was surprised to see that the moment we sat down, we were brought 5 beers, without even ordering.
OK, cool…read our minds. This began our eight hour shift of crafting a wicked hangover. The owner inquired as to what we were doing there and when we told him we were playing the following night, he turned the music off, pulled out a small combo amp, plugged it in and handed a guitar to Card. "PLAY! You play now!". Ummmm…OK, I guess. Card played a couple songs we all sang which turned into a few different versions of our own songs, developing into some improv jazz chords.
Andy singing Back in Black in gibberish french, ala Serge Gainsborg was a crowd pleaser…
Card and I were finally escorted out of the place after countless songs and far too many libations. Some locals hung in there for a few hours toward the end, fueling the fire by buying us more drinks as long as we kept playing eventually smoking us out inside the establishment like it was customary. "Please don't park here…the gypsies will steal your things." Were the last words out of the owner's mouth. Well, not exactly true…He actually crossed himself while saying "My God".
Great. We had no options but DID have the presence of mind, thanks to Cooker, to bring our guitars in the hotel before we crashed out.
Sure enough, I awoke to Card at the phone saying things like, "What did they take? Is it all gone? EVERYTHING?!!" DAMN! I half expected it but you never really anticipate the reality of the moment you find out your privacy had been violated and your things taken.
This was the first of events that changed the course of our entire tour. We found out that the only thing that was stolen was our Sat Navigation and a bag with some random things like vitamins, tea and a bottle of wine. This was a drag but it could have been a lot worse, I suppose. We still had all of our equipment so that was a big relief. After we realized there wasn't much we could do about it, we set off to see some sights with our Prague friends and look for a new Navigator…
Our friends in Prague are actually extended family. Our violin player, Marta is Czech and unfortunately stayed back in San Diego on this trip. Although, she did attend the Grammy's and perform with Rihanna while we've been away. Nice way to pass the time Martita! Ivanka, Marta's mother and Martina her cousin, with 6 month old Anushka in tow, were our gracious hosts and amazing tour guides during our visit.
Ivanka started our sight seeing session by having us meet up for some incredible traditional czech cuisine at a great restaurant in the square and picked up the tab. Hearts are so warm with gratitude for their help, graciousness and amazing hospitality. After lunch Ivanka led us on our mission through the city.
We walked through Prague craning our necks at the amazing architecture and were pretty much speechless as we crossed Charles Bridge. Incredible scenes of worship and persecution carved in stone, line the bridge and loom over the vendors selling trinkets to the crowd of tourists that strolled by.
We continued to walk to the cathedral at the top of a hill that overlooks the city. We took photos and hung out for a little while and were eventually silenced by the beautiful panoramic view of the city.
After we tired ourselves out, it was nearly showtime so we headed back to the venue to get ready.
Our show was cool and the crowd were nearly leaning on the circular stage in the middle of the room. Very American Bandstand.
After the show was over, we tried to leave and couldn't start our van…Tried turning it over and over again, pushed it to jump start it…nothing. We were screwed. We phoned a tow truck that arrived just before daybreak to tow the chariot to a garage. The next show was in Vienna, Austria and it looked like we would not make it. It sucked to have to be on the other side of the world and feel like we had to leave our mission incomplete.
The following days were stressful trying to translate news of mechanical failure and inadequate trouble shooting. THANK GOD we had our wonderful friend, Martina to translate and offer solutions to help us through this. It was and extra day n Prague which could have been a lot worse. We had an extra day to see the city.
We wound up getting a rental van for the next show in Munich…It was fire engine red with decals in the shape of people on the hood that gave it a Romper Room or Special Persons vibe. Our saving grace… We set off to Munich, still not knowing if we would have to get back to Prague the next day to return the rental, missing the following show in Zurich, that is IF the van were to be fixed. Which it wasn't…
MUNICH was a great show and pulling up to the venue and seeing the White Lies crew was like the reception of castaways that had been rescued from a deserted island…big hugs and "Welcome Back" all around. Also found all of our gear set up on stage ready for soundcheck. What a great group. Our show felt amazing and the lighting guys put a cherry on top by providing us with a light show along with our performance…So very grateful to them being absolutely legendary. Hats off once again. Now about the van…
THE SAGA CONTINUES.
All photos by Rich Cook