September 1995 found us traipsing about Europe. On the 8th, amidst what felt like stops in every city in Germany, we got on a plane for Barcelona, where we played the El Pop festival on the 9th. Nineteen years ago today, we woke up bright and early for the flight back to Hamburg, where another 37 German dates awaited us. Correction: four of us woke bright and early. Our soundman, Joe Hickey (not his real name), had overslept, a direct consequence of the copious amount of alcohol he had imbibed the night before–people, many of them strangers, kept telling us just how copious that amount was. . . .
. . . did I write Joe Hickey? My mistake–turns out that is his real name.
All of which is to say that by the time Joe joined us, we were late. And when we discovered that we did not have a key piece of our equipment, that in fact it had never left the car that dropped us off at our hotel the night before, the choice we faced was to retrieve it or make our flight, not both. We held out hope that it would be delivered to us at the Barcelona airport before we took off, but that didn’t happen, so it was decided that tour manager Joe Puleo would stay behind in Barcelona until our gear was in his hands, at which point he’d continue to Germany on a later flight. This was all happening quickly, a little too quickly: Belatedly, we realized that all our guitars, organs, maybe more that we were traveling with had been checked on Joe’s ticket (a detail that makes this story a period piece as decidedly as if we refused to leave Barcelona without our mustache wax and spats). It was too late to do anything about that. Joe–and an arsenal of musical equipment–would wait in Barcelona.
We arrived in Hamburg, met by our merchandise seller, Colin, left in charge of our van and the remainder of our backline during our Spanish jaunt, but were reluctant to make the drive to Hannover without conferring with Joe. Still a few years from our band’s first cell phone, the ticket agents at whatever airline we were on very generously kept placing calls from Hamburg to Barcelona, where Joe kept updating me on the lack of progress. This involved constantly going the wrong way through security checkpoints, another sign that when we sell the movie rights to this story, we will insist that it be filmed in black & white.
All told, we were at the airport for a good 90 minutes before being satisfied that all was well in Spain, and that we could safely head for our next destination. As I went to the van to deliver the all clear, I was told to look at a bench outside the terminal. There, sitting by himself, was Mick Fleetwood. Apparently, he’d been there when Colin picked us up, and there he remained, as we left.