|Comedian Louis C.K.|
C.K. does a bit about how in the United States, we have what he calls "white people problems." Whereas many in this world have problems such as, " Oh no, they're cutting all of our heads off today…", the spoiled, bloated brats in America will complain about things like,"We had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes…". C.K. laments,"That's a story in this country, people will stop what they are doing to listen to that story…' it was the worst day of my life….I had to wait on the runway for 40 minutes…'. ' Oh My God, that's terrible, you should SUE them…..' ." The theme of much of this thread is that things are so amazing in our comfortable, Western lives, and yet " everyone's miserable…".
I bring this up because I'm extremely guilty of this crime. I'm blessed to be able to travel to exotic lands for free and get paid reasonably well to perform jazz concerts(really, to merely noodle around on the piano). I actually get PAID to do this. And yet, all I can do is gripe about how hard it is to travel. A part of me wants to describe the sort of touring I'm doing at the moment as grueling. That's really a huge exaggeration. Grueling would be a journey across the desert on foot in a sandstorm and running out of food and water and getting lost for two years. Grueling is not, " I had to get up really early and fly to Berlin. I had to sit in the middle seat for 90 minutes!" That's a clear case of White People Problems…..
On the other side of the Euro coin, this now is the part of touring that is the work; the gig ends at 1am, get to the hotel at 2 am, get up at 5:30 am, drive 3 hours, get on a flight, wait for your luggage, drive two hours, go to soundcheck, play the gig, rinse, repeat as many days in a row as possible. It becomes so that you can't tell day from night; you sleep whenever you can. Yesterday, in my hotel room in Le Mans, France, I slept from 4 pm to 9:20 pm, knowing that there would be little time to rest between the end of the gig and the dreaded lobby call. Jack DeJohnette, our fearless bandleader, actually asked if there was a way that we could play first on the program of the festival, in order to attempt a full night's sleep.(This was not possible.) And comically, we sabotaged ourselves, because we agreed that we would play one hour starting at 11 pm, but we ended up playing almost an hour and forty minutes.
|Be still, Taggart, be still!|
(from Blazing Saddles)
So tonight will be our 4th concert. As I write this, I'm hurtling in a sleek BMW towards something called Schloss Neuhardenberg. Soundcheck at 4, concert at 7, 1 hour. Although I believe we will play longer than one hour! And we leave the hotel at 8am tomorrow, so I might actually get a truly complete night's sleep! Hooray! I've been nursing a mild cold since the tour began; hopefully a full eight hours of rest will knock it out for good.