Tuesday, 16 November 2010
European Tour Diary: Day 29 - Toulouse, France
We head off nice and early as have a lot of ground to cover. We’re all still basking in the winter sun of Spain and it’s amazing how much difference nice weather can make. We’re all exhausted but the sun and warm air make it impossible to be moody. Good times, windows down as we roll out of Spain and towards France. We pass Montserrat and encounter our second mountain range of the tour. We spend 40 minutes or so debating what it is and where we actually are, but a helpful road sign resolves it all as we whiz past. The Pyrenees! Amazing. Like a hotter drier version of The Alps, it’s beautiful here. We pass towering mountains and plunging valleys and gorges, still lakes, scrubland and it’s all amazing and so completely different to being home. We stop off and get our tourist on at a particularly beautiful valley range (ignoring The Simpsons style power plant on one side) taking snaps and admiring the view. I always find it quite funny looking around at us reprobates in such grand environments. It’s like someone plucked us out of our natural habitat of mess and small English rooms and dunked us into spectacular places that we just don’t belong. We stick out like a sore thumb!
We reluctantly get back in and continue our journey, and the more French and less Spanish things get, the greyer and darker it gets. Hmm. Come on France, cheer up!
By the time we reach Toulouse it is torrential rain. Toulouse is a beautiful place but alas we don’t’ really get to see it, as per usual, and our 7/8 hour journey has taken it out of us so we load in and flop down in the dressing room and wait for Danko Jones to finish soundchecking so we can begin ours.
The venue is modern and quite clinical but there is amazing catering. I’ve said this before but in England you get crisps, bread, ham and cheese etc, here we are served a lunch of home made soup, beautiful salad, selection of continental meats, fresh coffee, wine etc, and a dinner of beautiful pork chops, vegetables and amazing Banoffee Pie. Everyone laughs at me because I thought Banoffee pie was so named due to it coming from Banoffee, when in fact it’s because it’s made with Banana and Toffee. Oops.
Sometimes I watch Danko Jones sound check, and then play and I imagine what it must be like to come half way across the world (they hail from Toronto, Canada) and play to such large crowds, with such great lighting and all that kind of stuff at their disposal. Their sound guy, Corey, has become one of our favourite humans on the planet and is great fun to talk to, or just listen to as he tells one of his stories from his years on the road. Corey has a lot of stories. He’s been touring for 27 years, and DJ themselves have been around a long time too, having toured with the likes of Guns ‘N’ Roses (!). I wonder if the lifestyle ever gets old or if it’s possible to fall out of love with the game (sorry, too many episodes of The Wire). I doubt it, though the miserable weather sure does get old pretty quick.
Tonight’s show is also one of the better ones and we do well selling CDs afterwards. It is really reassuring to know that on a good day we can connect with people that so obviously wouldn’t have thought they’d like our kind of music. We’re all guilty of it, but first impressions or unfounded assumptions cut us off from so many things and experiences we’d probably really like. Makes me wonder what I’m missing out on.
We pack up, head to our hotel and get ready for Paris tomorrow! Can’t believe we’re approaching the last stretch of this tour.