I’m back from my 48 hours in Edinburgh and after spending a really lazy day to rest my knee, which I fucked up when I slipped on an icy patch here back home, I finally get around to writing the obligatory (for me by now anyway) post about the latest Frank Turner show, I’ve seen. My 2oth! Which still blows my mind a bit. But I’ve written about that more than enough by now.
Show #20 was lots of fun! I met old friends and made new ones and had some lovely chats in the queue before the doors opened. It was a great set, great crowd and there were a few surprises, for me at least anyway. It was quite fascinating to see how the set has changed over the span of a year from the first show I’ve seen in January. They’ve started with yet another new opening this time – “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” with just Frank for the first verse and the Souls join him on stage later during the song.
I won’t recap the whole set now though, it’s up on setlist.fm, if anyone is interested. I liked the selection of songs, even though I could have done without “Demons” and I’m always going to miss “Josephine” when they don’t play it. To me it felt like he played more songs on electric guitar than he did earlier this year, but maybe that’s just my impression. He used a sleek black/brown one at the end of the show, which looked unfamiliar to me and I know it’s quite nerd-y to even pay attention to things like that. Even more so as I don’t play guitar myself and I don’t know anything about it. I can tell an acoustic from an electric, but that’s just about it, I think.
By the way, that’s the only decent photo I took all night. With my phone to boot. I have no idea when my small camera stopped taking decent pictures at rock concerts. As you can see, I had a great spot, right at the barrier, directly in front of Frank. After the Bremen gig I had thought I’d never again do that, but it was fun in Edinburgh and the crowd was going wild behind me, but not too crazy, so the space at the barrier was fine.
Frank was in a pretty good mood (but isn’t he always up on stage?) and chatty as usual. He talked about the times when he played in Edinburgh previously, back in the Million Dead years. About DJ-ing the night before in Aberdeen and how hungover he still felt. For the crowd surf he brought up a pal from Scotland, who did a great job with high-fiving three different people in the audience. Team Tarrant won again. Yes :-)
During the acoustic set he did “Glorious You” which is always quite beautiful stripped down to the acoustic version and in memory of the times he played in Edinburgh with Million Dead he also played “Smiling at Strangers On The Train” (as a request, I think?) which was lovely. I really like that song and haven’t heard it live before. Never thought to request it either though…
I also loved the shout-out to “Safe Gigs For Women” and cheered really loud to show my support, because I think it’s a very important issue. I was lucky enough to not really have been harassed or worse at any show, but I know these things happen and it’s horrible. And I’m kind of proud that Frank takes such a vocal stand on that. Here is a clip of it from another show on this tour…
Even though I had seen some photos and clips of the current tour online I hadn’t really realized that the “Four Simple Words” finale is a bit different these days. I like it, no doubt, but I was thrown off for a moment, when the last notes of “Get Better” lead into the fast part of “Four Simple Words”. When he started singing the 2nd verse, still strumming on his guitar on stage, I thought “Has he given up on the crowd surf? Oh no!” But of course he hasn’t. He just now does it later in the song, gets down somewhere in the middle of the room and instead of serenading Tarrant on stage he does that to a female (I think *g*) fan there in the crowd. Then he lets himself be hoisted up again and crowdsurfs back to the stage to end the song. Pretty crazy, but also pretty cool!
The best for last: He did “Substitute” as first encore, which was amazing, because it was one of the songs I mailed him about, so I just claim he played it especially for me that night;-) Either way it was lovely to hear it on my anniversary show. Thank you so much, Frank!
I would have loved to give the man a Thank You hug afterwards, but that didn’t work out this time, as Frank was too knackered to hang out afterwards and he got his well deserved rest instead. There will always be a next time for a hug, I’m sure.
“And the aching amplitudes that set our needles all a-flickering, And help us with remembering that the only thing that’s left to do is live”
(I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous ~ Frank Turner, 2008)
When I sat down yesterday to write this post about why I can’t get enough of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls shows, I thought I had already worked out what I wanted to say and that the post would be easy to write. Until writing my thoughts down made me think some more and made me turn thoughts around in my mind and examine these thoughts and feelings more closely. After exploring some of the things I haven’t consciously considered before, I knew I had to start over. So here I am. Again.
In less than a week I’ll be dancing and singing in front of the stage at Usher Hall in Edinburgh at my 20th Frank Turner show! Twenty shows in just a little over three years. Which is all kinds of crazy! To me anyway, because I’ve never been part of the “live music scene”, if that’s the right term. Going to see live music wasn’t and still isn’t something I do all that regularly. Since I was 16 I’ve gone to see the occasional shows of singers/bands I like. But even if I was a big fan of a band I only ever saw one show of a tour or maybe two if they were scheduled some time apart. I did some crazy and slightly expensive Roxette-related stuff back in the day (mid – 1990s), but that was nothing compared to what I did because of my love for Frank Turner and his music and his shows.
In the past 39 months I’ve seen Frank play 19 shows in 11 different cities in 4 different countries. Only 7 of those happened in driving distance from where I live, so on 12 occasions I had to pay for an overnight stay. I travelled hundreds of kilometres inside of Germany, drove the 300 km to Luxembourg twice, crossed the Channel on two occasions to see Frank play three shows in London and earlier this year hopped on plane to Sweden for a small gig in Stockholm.
Why, you might ask. Why do I spend all this time and money? Why have I seen him play seven times this year alone, which is twice as many shows than I’ve seen from other artists in a regular year in my “pre-Turner-life” ? What on earth is so special about this guy and his shows?
The way I’ve figured it out last night there are basically four reasons.
The first one, of course, is my immense love and admiration for his music and his lyrics. I think I’ve written more than enough posts about why some of his words mean so much to me. It’s always lovely to hear these words sung live from the man himself and to be able to sing along and to feel all the feelings. To share this joy and love with the people around me, who sing and dance along as happily as I do. To know that I’m not the only one crazy about his music. To feel some connection with the folks around me, but also with Frank up on stage. It all makes me feel more alive in a way.
There are so many things on my mind these days. US Politics mostly and I will still need some time to wrap my head around a lot of things. About the voters there, but also about how I perceive what I read and hear and see. Complicated stuff. To distract myself from what’s going on on the other side of the pond and ever other region of the world that’s in trouble (and there are too many!) I’ve binged “The Crown” on Netflix, developed a girlcrush on Claire Foy, who’s so brilliant as Queen Elizabeth, but also went to see Biffy Clyro last night.
I met with some friends beforehand and we had a lovely lunch before we got in line 2 hours before the doors opened to make sure we’d get to our favourite space at the barrier (on James’s side). And we managed that. Yay! The supporting band was kind of boring, to me anyway. Their music sounded ok, but it was all the same, song after song.
Biffy on the other played a lot of different songs, which was pretty cool. They were even louder than I remembered them from my first Biffy show in Münster a few months ago. I was so glad I invested in good earplugs earlier this year and I have no idea how the young women on my left got through this show without any protection for their ears. I had a lot of fun last night and it was great to just let myself “lose in the music, the moment…. (You own it, you better never let it go)” (Always loved that line from Eminem).
As it was the start of the Carnival season in Cologne, where Carnival is a huge part of the city’s culture, quite a few people showed up dressed in costumes, which was fun to see. In the middle of the 2nd song, Simon tentatively sang “Da simma dabei…” and the crowd went quite wild, because that’s the first line to the chorus of “Viva Colonia”, a well known carnival / party song in Cologne and of course the crowd started singing this song, which was quite hilarious. Unfortunately – for me at least – they didn’t play “Flammable” nor “God & Satan” or “Who’s Got a Match”, which are some of my favourites. But as I stated above, the variety of songs was quite good regardless. Check it out on setlist.fm.
I had fun and I even managed to get hold of one of the many picks James threw into the crowd after the show, as it had been their final show of the German (or even mainland) tour in 2016, so they could get rid of picks and drumsticks and such. Later on my friend was sure James threw it directly to me (on purpose?) which is a nice thought. But it’s quite difficult to catch a tiny pick in the gloomy light of a rock show venue. The pick hit my chest and I tried to hold onto it, but it bumped off over the barrier, where once the lights went on, one of the security guys was nice enough to pick it up and hand it back to me. Yay!
One last thing: By now I’m afraid chatty Frank Turner has spoiled me quite a bit for any other live act ;-). Seriously! Because as much as I enjoyed the music and the singing and dancing, I think Simon and James (and even Ben) could have talked or interacted with the audience a bit more than the usual “Thank you” and “Wonderful” and such. I guess I’m just so used to Frank giving some introduction to some songs or interacting with the Sleeping Souls on stage, but also doing the singalong contests and such, that I miss these kind of things at other live shows. I really have it bad for this Wessex Boy. Three more weeks till I see him and the Souls on stage again. Yay!
Anyway, Biffy last night were fun and here are a few of my photos…
As far as I remember from the 41 winters of my life so far, I’ve never been bothered too much by turning the clocks back in the fall and the lack of daylight in the late afternoons. I wasn’t a fan, but I always just dealt with it ok. I have no idea what’s different this year, but I’m so sick of the lack of light already and it’s only been a week for us here in Germany. I don’t know if it’s just the lack of daylight that has put me in a weird, lazy, gloomy mood or something else as well. But I don’t like it.
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I’ve had some busy times on Twitter these past few days, when amidst some Outlander Fandom drama, the one and only Caitriona Balfe liked one of the tweets in which I promoted my “Golden Rule” of Fandom and Privacy post again. Yikes!
Almost 900 people came to the blog to read that post and it was shared on Twitter and Tumblr and God knows where else and the response from other fans was very positive and supportive. I guess there are more of us normal fans than the crazy ones after all. Thanks for that!
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This year I had decided – rather on a whim – to take part in NaNoWriMo once again. After a mere five days I have to admit defeat. Again. Admitting defeat might have contributed to the gloomy mood I’m in this weekend. I still like the general idea of my story, but I’ve realized I haven’t really thought it through yet and making it up as I go just takes too much time from actually churning out 1667 words a day. Especially besides work and chores and other stuff I have or want to do.
Maybe also my heart wasn’t really in it this time, at least not yet, especially with a story still so vague in my head. At least I’ve learned another thing about me which is that I need to have a very clear outline of how I think the story will go. I wrote the most words during NaNoWriMo the first time, when I had a very detailed chapter-by-chapter outline. I still didn’t write chronologically, but at least I had the clear idea of where each puzzle piece would fit. This time… not so much.
Now I could claim that I will keep working on this story and write it anyway, but I also did that the previous times – as I shamefully found out when I searched for the NaNoWriMo tag here on my blog. And I never followed up on that claim, so I better not even make it this year. Maybe I’ll try to find the time to write more – about anything – elsewhere. Like here on this blog? Read more