i got woken up because the bus was rocking back and forth rather violently. good thing i'm on a bottom bunk! in yet another incredibly impressive feat of driving, patrick has somehow managed to squeeze the bus and trailer backwards into an alley that looked just big enough for a vw beetle to drive down. i assume that he has some kind of ability to warp the fabric of time and space, but who knows? the key element is that we were parked and we could start loading in.
the venue was sweet, nice big room with a big stage and good sound. no complaints there. showers nice and clean! essentially the same catering as dortmund, even the same dude how was doing it. da5id woke up, and cut my hair, and i grabbed a shower. the little things like this take on totally disproportional importance when you're not in your daily routine at home. so i was happy to be clean again after not showering the day before, feeling human again.
janosch hadn't been with us the day before, on our day off, because he had some friends in cologne that he wanted to spend time with. when he showed up again, he looked pretty unwell. apparently he'd eaten something that hadn't agreed with him, and he had been sick all night the previous night! i was surprised he even made it, he looked pretty rough, so you know he's a trooper. he slept most of the day in the backstage to conserve energy for the show. i might have thought about cancelling if it was me, so you can imagine how serious it was.
we had plenty of time before we went on, so da5id, aaron and i went out for a walk around, to try and see a bit more of the neighborhood. since we were just two blocks away from the "shoot your car in the head" lot, we went in some different directions, and found the main street with all the restaurants and stores. that was pretty cool, just walking around. we went back, and did a fairly unremarkable soundcheck that sounded pretty good. after the previous two shows, i wasn't all that hopeful about the night itself.
after soundcheck, we saw stefan herwig there again, he'd missed us in dortmund the previous night and came by to chat more about the show. so we hung out backstage for a while, talking about ways to improve the show, and some theoretical ideas for tours next year and some basic ideas about the next album. if there's one thing i can't stress enough, it's how many new ideas i have from doing this tour, just a ton of concepts about the shows we'll do, and the album we should make. so all this is good raw data to go into my brain, even if i don't always agree.
janosch managed to play his set, which was amazing. not his most high energy show, but i was just happy to see him up there doing it! at least we knew he would live, at that point. we went onstage, and pulled off a perfectly great set, in which i wasn't too worried about the sound mix in the audience. people seemed to react to what we were doing, and seemed to be enjoying themselves. so i was reasonably happy with the way the set turned out. and we talked to stefan a bit more after the show...he said it was "ok to average", well i'll take what i can get after the fucking disasters in berlin and dortmund, you know?
we went downstairs to watch mesh, who had brought julia back to guest on 'who says?' again. as always, they sounded and looked amazing. even after all the shows we've done with them, i'm still constantly impressed by their show. i had to go back upstairs to do some repacking, and when i came back downstairs, the venue security was forcing everyone out of the venue. this did not bode well for an afterparty, which we were hoping to do because it was the end of the line for claus and chris (part of the german super-fan contingent), and we wanted to have a special party to celebrate. but, no dice, and that sucked.
after loading out, the bus moved back over to the 'shoot your car in the head' parking lot, and there was a bit of a commotion because of the scheduling. i guess the proper bus call times hadn't been communicated, and people were a bit scattered with their after-parry plans. oops! well, i just stayed on the bus and passed out, since there didn't seem to be anything too amazing happening at this point. i was excited to go to belgium the following day and try to drink some decent belgian beer. one last thing about cologne is that i managed to polish off all the beers that damian brought us in dortmund, so belgium seemed promising...