But in the end the journey’s brought
Joys that outweigh the pain.
(Journey of the Magi – Frank Turner, 2009)
I’ve probably written before how hard it is to “come down” from the joyful experience of seeing a few Frank shows. At least I think I must have mentioned it at some point in the past. I’m getting better with dealing with the “feeling a bit down” bit, because I know there will be more Frank gigs in the future. The near future (Manchester, Leeds at the end of January 2019) and the distant one. He’ll keep writing songs and singing songs and I’m willing to travel a bit to see him do the latter, so I’ll be fine. At least I say that now. Let’s see how I feel in the summer of 2019, when it will have been six months (longest span of time without a Frank gig for me so far) since January and I will have no Frank gigs lined up ;-)
Here are some last stats and thoughts from the “Travelling Fangirl, November 2018 Edition” (10th – 19th November + 23rd November)
Distance travelled all in all: ~ 1.400 km
Numbers of different beds I slept in: 5.
Number of Frank Turner shows: 6: 5 regular ones, 1 instore.
Times I’ve ‘met’ and talked to Frank: 3 1/2. After the gigs in Hannover and Bremen. At the instore in Hamburg and a quick (thus 1/2 one) after the Hamburg gig at night.
Number of different songs I’ve heard: 40. The regular set has 25 songs. You can now do the math how many songs Frank might change around each night :-)
Songs that had suprised me most to hear: Father’s Day, Journey of the Magi, Glory Hallelujah
Being able to chat with Frank for a bit on the occassions mentioned above might have to be stated first. What can I say? I’m a fangirl and I enjoy talking to him. I appreciate hearing him say lovely things to me. I appreciate that from every other person as well of course, but if it’s coming from someone I ‘adore’ (fangirl, you know) it’s giving me extra warm and fuzzy feelings. And it’s providing me with nice memories to draw strength or at least positivity from when life get’s a bit crazier and rougher like it tends to do every once in a while.
My most favourite memorable moment in that regard happened last night without Frank even having said a word to me directly. Earlier this week I had sent him a song request as the two shows scheduled for Düsseldorf would have been my #40 (instore) and #41 (Mitsubishi Electric Hall). If it’s a personal request with special meaning to me (as in a birthday or an anniversary show) my first pick will forever be “Sailor’s Boots”. The instore had to be cancelled on short notice, because Frank’s voice was too worn out already. So when the evening gig came aorund I was hoping he remembered my request and figured out by himself that the evening show now would be my 40th show. He started the acoustic set with “This is a song about the sea” and played… “Sailor’s Boots.” Such an incredible treat, every fucking time!
The memory was made even sweeter when I later found out that “my” song wasn’t on the official (handed out to band and crew) setlist for the night. That had listed “Sea Legs” as first solo song, which he didn’t play at all. Frank often enough half-jokingly states: “I can’t remember the name of the person who sent the mail. So if you have requested that song, just claim I play it for you.” No matter what anyone might say, I will now claim this setlist change for me. And I guess this story explains why I travel all these miles and spend all this time and money to see and hear an Englishman play some songs. It’s about so much more than the music.
It also has been quite lovely to see him interact and talk with others fans too. Which now might sound creepy, but I hope you know how I mean it. I love that he takes the time and often seems to enjoy the interaction as much as we do. It was a thrill to see his face light up when he realized he ‘met’ my friend Amanda two years ago, when he had asked her onto the stage on her birthday in Bratislava. To see him pose for photos for fans to make memories. To hear him offering to work things out for someone, whether it was about a guest list spot or supporting a charity cause. He really has a big heart and I love that about him. (Among all the other things, like giving great hugs).
More favourite moments from the tour? Seeing the pretty cool lighting effects from the back of the venue in Hamburg. And realizing that it’s a woman operating the lighting board on this tour. I admit a bit ashamedly that even I – who calls herself a feminist – always somehow considered these more technical jobs a male domain. So it was nice to see that gender bias in my own thinking set right.
I loved getting setlists and guitar pics from Dougie (stage manager). I enjoyed chatting to Nigel and Tarrant and Matt and Ben on the few occassions we caught them at the bus. I enjoyed seeing Frank and Matt talk about how easy or difficult it would be to relearn “We Shall Not Overcome”. They sang the tunes to each other and demonstrated guitar chords on “air guitar”. I did not understand a single word of what they said, but it was fun to watch ;-)
All in all it was such a joy each of the nights to see Frank and the band on stage. Playing some of my favourite songs. Making us sing and dance and “forget about the bitching and remember that you’re blessed.” I am really grateful that my situation (health, job, finance wise) allows me to do this stuff. As exhausting as some parts of these travelling days may have been, it has also been so much fun. And like on each of the last Frank related trips I’ve taken, some of the things I did and heard and saw made me think and learn and realize stuff. About myself mostly. And mostly good things, which is always lovely to know.
Other folks go to spiritual retreats for these experiences. Travelling to Frank Turner shows is a much more fun path to enlightenment I think. But hey, it’s #notacult. :-)