Even before I “went on tour” with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls this week, I thought about how to write about it on this blog afterwards. I knew (or at least thought to know) that seperate detailed reviews of the three shows (on three days!) like I wrote one for the Bremen gig, wouldn’t make much sense. For memories of those gigs blend into each other rather quickly. And even though Frank changes a few things around every night, a large part of the set and everything is fixed and three recaps would be boring to write and boring to read.
This therefore will be a post about all three shows combined and I will write a seperate post about “life on the road” and the things I learned from it. Hopefully I’ll get that done tonight as well, but I’m not sure.
Will Varley and Skinny Lister were great on all three nights, as usual. On the first night in Hamburg, Will stopped after one line of “The Talking Cat Blues” to say that what he just sang was a bad pun even in English. And just then I even understood the pun and was laughing out loud. Because I seriously think it’s a great one! I told him that after the gig as well. I don’t know if that had anything to do with him stopping mid-song and in detail explaining how bad the pun is on the remaining two nights. LOL It’s from the “Talking Cat Blues” and it’s about a phone call to some insurance company which ends with “No win – no fee line”. I’ve only ever heard the words as the “no feline” as in “we don’t handle claims about a cat’s injury” and not as “no fee line.” Yeah, I admit it might not be very funny written out and explained like that, but I still think it’s a witty line in the context of this song.
Anyway… on to shows 1824 – 1826.
The first Hamburg show on Wednesday definitely was my favourite of these three in regards to set and especially atmosphere and all. Hamburg #2 was really great as well (and it might be my favourite in other regards, more of that later) and so was Cologne, even though I might have been too exhausted in Cologne to fully appreciate the awesomeness of my favourite English lad playing to a sold-out venue with 4.000 people in Germany! It was great no doubt.
In Cologne he played “Love Forty Down” and “A Decent Cup of Tea”, which might have been a request by someone from the promoter team? Or maybe the request from this person was “Love, Ire & Song” which Frank played during the encore in Cologne. That definitely made me happy, because I love this song and it’s one of the 10 I was hoping for and thus I came away with 6/10 on this tour, which is pretty cool! The fifth from this list was “Once We Were Anarchists” which he played on the 2nd night in Hamburg. On the 2nd night in Hamburg and again in Cologne he also started the Encore with the solo acoustic version of “I Am Disappeared”, which I slightly prefer over the full band version. Loved it.
Hamburg #2 also had “Real Damage” and “Prufrock”, which he doesn’t play all that often anymore. He didn’t play “Josephine” that night, but did the sing-along with “Glorious You” instead. He “practiced” the “whenever I raise my guitar” sing-along with “Lift uuuuuuuup” and I thought: WTF?!?! Which song has a “Lift uuuuuuuuup”? LOL. It was cool, but “Josephine” is my favourite PS4NP song along with “Get Better”, so I really missed singing it that night. Hamburg #2 also had “One Foot Before The Other”, which made my gigbuddy very happy.
The first night in Hamburg he played “Father’s Day” on electric guitar, which was new (for me) and kind of cool! During the acoustic session he also played “Tattoos” again, which made me soooo happy. You can read why in my Bremen post. It again was requested by someone that night, not from me this time, but I don’t care. I love hearing it, so: Thank you Frank!
Like almost every night he talked about how he usually doesn’t remember the name of the person who requested it. After that song he said something like:
“Some requests come from someone special. Like the person who requested the next song. She’s my girlfriend and she’s here with us tonight…”
Which made me go all warm and fuzzy inside. I can’t help it. I like him and I want him to be happy. And I’m happy when he’s happy. And he clearly seemed happy that night. The song was “Balthazar Impressario”, by the way.
Frank and the Souls always seem to have a lot of fun on stage, but to me they seemed especially happy and thrilled to be on stage that first night. Maybe because they had a day off before and could recharge a bit? Just a guess.
Like probably every bigger city with some history, Hamburg has a traditional greeting. In Hamburg that’s “Hummel Hummel” answered with “Mors Mors” (Here’s an explanation for that). It’s not really in everyday use anymore, but it’s still often used as a chant with a crowd like in a football stadium. On that first night Frank stepped to the mic after a few songs and just said “Hummel Hummel” and of course the crowd screamed “Mors Mors” back at him. Frank was laughing so hard over that, he did it a few more times that first night and he always had lots of fun. He said, that before his first ever show in Hamburg a few years ago, someone told him to just say “Hummel Hummel” on stage and see what happens. He clearly loves the craziness of it. It was hilarious!
“Hummel” also means “Bumblebee” in German, even though it’s not meant that way in this context. But that didn’t stop Frank and his crew to dress up his pal Alex from the concert organizer company as a bumblebee and send him on his first crowdsurfing ever during “Out of Breath”. It was Alex’s birthday that night, so this time he had to carry the cake back tot he sounddesk via crowdsurfing. As a bumblebee. LOL
There wasn’t any birthday gal/lad on the 2nd night, so Skinny Listers’ double bass player Michael Camino went crowdsurfing during that song. He came back up front on our side and while I helped hoisting him back over the barrier, he knocked my glasses off my nose. Not on purpose of course and I have no idea which of his body parts actually did, but I was so terrified for a moment. I can see okay-ish without my glasses, but I still need them and didn’t want anyone to step on them and smash them. If they hadn’t been smashed by the fall already. Lucky for me, they had fallen down right in front of me onto my bag at my feet, so all was well. I took off my glasses for every crowdsurfing part during the final show in Cologne though :-)
On that last night in Cologne they invited Skinny Lister back on stage during that song to celebrate the end of their long tour together and they wanted to do that with a dram of whiskey. But they needed shotglasses which were stored at the sounddesk. So Michael and drummer Thom went into a crowdsurfing race to get the glasses. Thom on our #TeamTarrant side won this. Yay! It was fun in Cologne for sure.
So all in all: the set itself and the cheerful happy atmosphere on stage during the first Hamburg night might make it my favourite of this tour together with the Bremen gig. But the 2nd night was my Tourflag night, so this of course made the 2nd night special as well. The FTHCFlag is a great idea, which was started on the last tour, I think and lovely Valerie keeps organizing it and it’s a cool “exercise in fandom, an excuse to make new friends, seeing how far music can unite the people.” Volunteer carry the flag from show to show and maybe do some sightseeing with the flag on the off-days. Fans at the show can take photos with the flag and it’s basically just a lot of fun.
The flag also usually gets a shoutout from Frank during each show, in which he explains how it works and that there “basically are three rules. First: you have to hug the person carrying the flag. Then you have to give them a kiss on the cheek. And then… you have to pour Whiskey down their throat. Go on now, hug them. Come on.” LOL I got hugs and kisses that night, but no Whiskey, which was totally fine by me. It was a very fun thing to do. And lets be honest, it’s kind of cool to get a shoutout from the man on stage himself.
Going to three shows in a row and not having to get up early to go to work the next day, I knew I wanted to try and catch Frank after one or two of the shows. We hung around a bit after the first Hamburg show, but we were pretty sure they would probably head out celebrating their promotor’s birthday, so we left after 30 minutes or so. We also tried our luck after the final show in Cologne, where I would have loved to thank Frank for all the great shows from this tour. We waited for a while, but at some point we saw the tour bus pull out of the parking lot and disappear into the night. Which was ok, because we only did pay for the concert and we got a great one of that. And… we had gotten lucky on the 2nd night in Hamburg already :-)
On that 2nd night in Hamburg we had hung around at the venue for a while longer and managed to chat with Frank for a little bit. He did look a bit worn out though and even admitted that he was. No surprise at the end of a tour, I guess. Thus I’m even more grateful now that he still took a few minutes to talk to us, sign stuff and take some pictures, even with the initially reluctant ones *headdesk*
I’ll NEVER again say “No, thanks, we don’t need to take a picture. I’ve already got a few nice ones of us together” to @frankturner! Not, when the picture we take after all, turns out like this 😊 Thank you SO much Frank, see you tonight for the finale. xoxo #frankturner #frankandme #singer #songwriter #entertainer #tour #concert #music #hamburg #folk #punk #live #sleepingsouls #ps4np #bestmoments #happy #musicwasmyfirstlove #rocknroll
Ein von Susanne D (@dennasus) gepostetes Foto am
Honestly, this and some other things made me incredibly happy that night. In such a way that – after it was over – I had to turn away to have a momentary internal silent “OMG did that really happen?!?!” freakout. LOL What can I say? I like him. As an artist. As songwriter. Especially as lyricist. As entertainer. And definitely as the friendly and kind and thoughtful person that he is. Towards us, who love his music and come to his shows, but I also think to almost everyone else. He’s just downright lovely. Period!