We have reached the end of the tour, unscathed and triumphant. I’m in the back of the van in the midst of a slow, cold drive back to Pisa, and its a good chance to capture some reflections about the tour, which I have been thinking about from the perspective of mind, body and soul.
Moments exactly like this - on the road with literally hours to sit and think and write - strikes me as something that has changed a lot in my life since my touring days, where this was how I spent most of my year. Back in Australia I now work as an IT consultant and my job revolves around talking and facilitating meetings and collaborating all day. And as anyone with a young family would know, home life is usually pretty intense and doesn’t leave much spare time or headspace. So it has been an interesting departure to be back in this familiar old space where most of our time is spent travelling in the back of a roaring van, or waiting around at venues or truck stops, with nothing much else to do than think. I would say it has been refreshing, but I also remember how isolating it used to feel at times. Now, with much more miss back home, I can imagine how hard it would be to be away a lot again, especially with so much thinking and waiting time. Even in just two weeks I have seen through the (precious) FaceTime calls all the new changes in my two and half year old daughter, Esther. It wouldn’t take much longer until being apart would start to feel unbearable. I marvel how people with children manage to travel frequently for work - it must be really challenging.
Its amazing to think that we have just played eight shows in nine days. Until now, we played just four live shows in the past three years. The toll on the body has been pretty intense, partly due to a lack of general gig fitness, and nodoubt another key factor is that we are ten years older than when we last toured with any such intensity. Each day involves many hours of travel on the road and lugging of heavy gear in and out of the venue. One saving grace has been that, unlike years gone by, we have been pretty conservative when it comes to partying and carrying on after shows. So at least we haven’t had hangovers to contend with. But I still feel like I have both been through a boxing match and have run a marathon.
Muscle memory is such an incredible thing. When we first started playing the Sodastream songs after a seven year break, there were times where we literally couldn’t remember the name of the song, but the hands just know where to go and what to do. And being on tour has taken that to a new level. Each night our circumstances have varied wildly, from churches to theatres to clubs. There are many aspects to the performance which need to cater for the differences at each venue, such as needing to mute certain strings while playing as to avoid sub harmonic feedback through the PA. Its almost an out of body experience to watch my hands and body know what to do in each situation, especially on the old songs which we have performed live hundreds of times.
Being immersed in music again for a couple of weeks has been quite a profound experience, and something I think it will take a while to fully unpack and process. As always, the two really strong aspects are forming a connection with the audience, and then connecting with all of the people who we work with while on tour. In both cases there is a very significant foundation of a shared understanding about music and a common world view which we build upon. Many things just don’t need to be said, as we already know that we are coming from the same place. And then there is a feeling, that through the course of our exchange we have provided something with our music, like one unique piece of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Alone, it probably doesn’t change someone’s world. But I feel, and I hope, that we provide some nourishment to people’s soul that isn’t easy to find elsewhere, and that we leave some kind of lasting impact and that somehow help make people whole. And it is that mindset which compels me to put everything I possibly can into every performance, and to get lost deep in every song so as to draw out its essence.
For me, the rhythm of performing every day boils down to a relatively simple and rewarding existence. My usual work world these days is very complicated, and it often takes weeks or months to reach an outcome. But when Karl and I get up to perform, it is an outcome we own and I have every confidence we can deliver. And it is instantaneous as the exchange occurs within the moment of playing the songs, and then in the conversations after the concert.
I feel very lucky that we had the opportunity to again bring our music to people who want to hear it, and I hope we are back in Europe again before another 10 years pass.
We are very grateful everyone to helped us along the way and who came to the shows.