My first-ever gig wearing a hat. It was hot that day!
had a real good week last week seeing the great John Hiatt and playing an alright gig at the Bad Kissingen Songwriter Festival.
The last time I had seen John Hiatt was on the Perfectly Good Guitar tour in the (early) 90ies. I missed his gigs in Germany last year and was stoked to hear about him coming back. A gig at the Rudolstadt folk festival in Thüringen seemed to be within driving distance.
It turned out it barely was. My buddy Tom Ripphahn showed up in Würzburg on Thursday, 5 pm and we took off. Including a stop for a bite to eat we arrived in Rudolstadt at 8 pm. After finding a space to park and picking up our tickets we found our way to the main stage a little after 8.30 pm.
I was very much looking forward to seeing Doug Lancio play with Hiatt. And lo and behold, we saw Doug checking out the folk art huts on the festival grounds before the gig right as we were passing them. I gathered up my courage and said hi; we ended up chatting for a few minutes.
And then Hiatt & his band played a great set – in fact, it was practically a greatest hits set with the first six songs culled from six different albums. He ended up drawing heavily from Drive South (probably my favourite John Hiatt album) and playing only two songs from the real strong current album.
The band was great, Lancio was especially strong in the first few songs, showing off his versatility. The intro to Real Fine Love was particularly memorable.
I found out the set list was almost identical to the one in Cologne the day before. Maybe that had something to do with the new bass player who was “a last minute addition” as Lancio explained.
Anyway, a great gig.
But a looong drive home. Got home at 1.30 a.m. Got up again at 8. Not ideal.
On Saturday I packed up my guitar, my wife & daughter and drove up to Bad Kissingen for the Songwriter Festival. It’s a neat festival in a beautiful location with an interesting concept. Some of the more, ahem, experienced performers were asked to act as mentors for younger acts. The idea was to pick a younger act, introduce them and play a few songs with them.
I asked Hannes Conrads and his band Conrads Kartell to be my protégés.
Felix accompanied me on guitar. We played a few songs then I asked Hannes to join me on Pancho & Lefty before I turned the stage over to Hannes, Felix & their drummer/percussionist Frolic. They played for a half-hour, I sat in on their last song and took over again after them.
Hannes & the boys sounded terrific!
I think we did alright, too. I got the feeling that the audience particularly enjoyed a few more uptempo songs from Felix & me. We had a good time playing some songs we haven’t played with the band in a little while, for example What Might’ve Been.
We ended our set with Hannes & Frolic joining us on Dylan’s Things Have Changed. If it hadn’t been for us, there would not have been a single Bob Dylan song played - at a songwriter festival. That just ain’t right.
The best thing about the gig, though, was that my wife and daughter were there. My daughter has only once seen me on stage before because I usually play past her bedtime (she’ll be three in a few weeks). This festival was an exception (with a little give and take) and thus particularly fun for me. She keeps wanting to join me on stage, though. I don’t know how much longer I can hold her off. It’s very possible I’ll have to give her a harmonica to blow into one of these days.
Now I’m looking forward to our band gig at the Stoffel in Frankfurt on July 28. Come meet us there.