“This Is My Culture Man, This Is My Home…”

Colleagues and friends condescend with a smile,
But this is my culture man, this is my home.
(Four Simple Words ~ Frank Turner, 2013)

I haven’t quite figured out how to cover “my Frank Turner tour 2018” on this blog. I did a bit of Instagram Story about the travelling bit for the first two gigs: The tour start in Antwerp last Friday and the 3rd gig in Luxembourg on Sunday. I was supposed to meet my friend Amanda from the UK there to do the show together, but she had to bail on me on short notice. For very good reasons and she more than made up for it. More on that in a moment…

Both shows were pretty great. Look up the setlists online, if you like. A good mix of old and new songs and a few surprises. Like “Little Aphrodite” and “Rivers” as requests. In Luxembourg Frank also played my absolute favourite: the rare “Sailor’s Boots.” He stated that someone had requested it and that he’s always happy to play it. It naturally made me quite happy to hear it once again – 2nd time this year even! – but I was also wondering who this other fan was, who obviously loves this song as much as I do and had requested it. Little did I know… As it had turned out the next day: my friend had mailed and asked him to play it to make up for bailing on me. I’m still getting a bit weepy thinking about that gesture. Thank you so much, Amanda!

The crowds on both nights were quite good as well. Singing and dancing and having a good time. The people in Luxembourg were maybe a bit too rowdy for my taste. Not in a rude, aggressive, pushy way, just in a “dancing and moshing quite wildly” way. Even though it was supposed to have been sold out, the area in front of the stage wasn’t too crowded. Less crowded than I’m used to in fact, which made hoisting the crowdsurfers forward a bit difficult to be honest.

Xylaroo, the first support, are lovely and I really enjoyed their sets and I’m looking forward to chatting with them a bit more after the next five gigs. The guys from the 2nd support Pup seem to be really nice as well and I liked their hard and loud alternative rock music well enough. I just wish I would understand a single word of what their singer is singing. It’s not that the instrument were too loud. I checked them out on Spotify after again and got the same issues. Sorry, Stefan ;-)

Frank and the Souls seemed to be having lots of fun on stage both nights. Those were shows 33 and 34 for me and each new time I’m still in awe and impressed by the pure energy that radiates from that stage down to us. From each member of the band, but of course Frank most of all. These boards are his world. He loves and lives to sing and entertain and that shows and it sparks something within the crowd. I can’t put it any better. It’s just a very, very awesome feeling to be on the receiving end of this energy and to sing and dance with friends and strangers and to share this moment of positivity. At least up front – with all those people to whom his music seems to mean as much as it does to me – it’s always a very satisfying, very happy place. Or as Frank himself said so aptly in a tweet after that show:

Right back at ya, Mr. Turner. I’m so happy I get do this five more times this year.

Some time after my first “real” tour experience – five shows of the PS4NP tour in 2016 – I wrote a blog post about how I was still looking for my Frank Turner tribe. Right now I honestly have a bit of a hard time to imagine having been in that mindset. Not just because by now I’ve met many more fans I get along with quite well. Not just because I’ve in fact made some lovely friends among my fellow fans. I probably mostly can’t get back into it, because of how I’ve changed in these past 2.5 years. Last year I’ve written another blog trying to work through how much of this change I can or have to attribute to being a (travelling) fan of Frank’s. I still don’t know for sure. But I’ve changed. For the better in the way, that I’m a bit more gregarious and less self-conscious. It’s much more fun this way, let me tell you. When you finally realize that the people next to you at the barrier are probably just as messed up as you are. Having fallen so hard for this guy on stage, because he’s written these words our messed up minds needed to hear and can relate to. Because basically… he’s one of us ;-) And that there is no reason to be afraid of being judged and found wanting. Because you’re neither! We’re all in this together. This communal feeling of a Frank Turner crowd is something to cherish and appreciate. I know I do. I chose those lyrical quote above for a reason. I had gotten quite a few incredulous “how many gigs?” reactions from family and coworkers when they heard about this weekend and how I will take a week off work mid-November for more gigs. But by now I honestly just don’t care.

The communal feeling continued among the handful of fans who were hoping to catch Frank and the Souls after the show. And I’m very glad and grateful for that too, because it makes the time pass much quicker when you have other people to talk to. Swap stories of gigs and stuff. In Antwerp Frank came over just real quick to tell us he wasn’t feeling well and he thus couldn’t stay. In Luxembourg though he and Ben and Matt and Tarrant and Nigel took their time with each and everyone of us who wanted a photo, have something signed or just chat for a bit. They were all so very sweet. Frank was the most in demand, as could have been expected and he was so patient and lovely and present with each and everyone.

I had sent Frank a song request for a rather rare song a few weeks ago and he already warned me, that they might have to relearn that one. When he came over to greet me he opened with “I owe you an apology. We didn’t play your song!” And I was like “Dude, don’t worry, we’re cool” *g*. We chatted for a bit and I had him write a postcard to my goddaughters, because they always get postcards when I’m away and I thought that would be a nice change from the regular “greeting from wherever”. They are not even 4 years old. They will have no concept of who Frank is and what he does, but still… it can’t hurt to plant the fangirl seed early on, right ;-)?

I also had to talk to him about the bad timing the day before, when I had seen his comment 30 minutes after he posted it. But I was driving to Luxembourg at that time of day and as “the only person in my car was me” ;-), I had muted my phone to not get distracted.

fthcinsta

It’s the thought that counts, right? At least that’s what I’m telling myself. No, really, it’s fine. But… that Sunday night on the side walk in Luxembourg I felt the need to officially grant him indefinite permission to use any of my photos in the future without having to ask me first. Just to be sure ;-)

Writing this down here makes me all of a sudden now remember the first time I had met him. My show #2. Over five years ago. And how nervous and tongue tied I had been then. So very very tongue tied. Yes, I’ve changed. Thank God! Some things and thoughts have stayed the same though.

I know “authentic” is such a overused word these days, but to me it felt like Frank Turner was authentically himself on stage and after. Especially after, and I really, really appreciate that I had a chance to experience that.

Yep. Still 100% true.

One thing that caught me by surprise – and I feel almost silly for writing it, because it shouldn’t have been a surprise – was that he is so much taller than me.

I still stand by that one, too. LOL

Two weeks and two days till my next gig. But who’s counting, eh?

At both shows I played around with the manual setting of my compact camera, because I thought I might manage to make better photos than the automatic settings. Spoiler alert: I did not! So I guess it’s back to letting the camera work for me instead of trying to work the camera next time. Anyway, here are a few, who turned out okay-ish. Still quite grainy, but… whatever. Click to enlarge as usual.

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