November 19, 2009

Dateline Europe.  At the conclusion of “Shadows” last night in Lund, Sweden, the halftime whistle blew. So while Coach Puleo draws some x’s and o’s on the locker room chalkboard, I’ve got a few moments to check in.

If you’ve ever wondered why Vernon Duke and Yip Harburg wrote a song called “April in Paris,” and not, say, “November in Copenhagen,” we’ve solved that mystery.  We’ve encountered a two-week block of clouds and rain the likes of which would turn a Seattle resident gloomy, though as is our wont — and due to some sloppy packing — we are letting a smile be our umbrella.

A few highlights: Norman Blake joined us for the Teenage Fanclub favorite “I Heard You Looking” in Glasgow, after which we went out on the town and heard NRBQ played by a club dj.  Euros Childs opened our UK shows, and he and Stephen Black took over the piano and organ for “I Wanna Be Your Lover” in Manchester (we wanted to do a Dylan song in the city where the “Albert Hall” concert was recorded, and didn’t have time to work up “Must Be Santa”).  We had a string section for “If It’s True” and “Here to Fall” at our London show at the Roundhouse.

This tour includes a whole bunch of shows with Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby, most of which are still to come.  But we do have three under the collective belt, and have managed to coax the shy and retiring Wreckless Eric on stage twice.  He and Amy sang “Dizzy” with us in Leuven, and “You Tore Me Down” in Amsterdam (the latter mere minutes before they discovered that someone had broken into their, uh, ambulance).

We had a fine time in Scandinavia despite an exchange rate that required constant vigilance at the risk of purchasing a $30 bar of soap.  We watched Monk on tv in the ancestral home of Hans Christian Andersen, and ate herring and pytt i panna and tunnbrodsrulle in the ancestral home of Jesper Eklow.  We’ve probably done some other stuff too, but it’s time for the start of the third quarter.  See you soon.