Sitting in the third row of Die Glocke’s Kleiner Saal, the smaller
recital hall: candle sconces lining the walls, glimpses of stone arches
out the window. They have a concert Steinway on stage for me, one of
those beauties that’s sparkling bright up top and a bit growly in the
low end, so that even running through scales sounds fancy—a dance
partner who makes you forget your two left feet. But the techs couldn’t
hear each other talk over my happy plunking, so I’ve been kicked
offstage for a while.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
We wake up each morning on Cayamo to a different scene in the
picture window. Sunday, endless waves dusted with whitecaps; Monday,
hills dotted with palm trees; Tuesday, a loading dock and a butterfly
museum. On Deck 13 you can walk around the whole ship, letting the
panorama engulf you in blue and white and green. I never get over the
sheer ridiculousness of it.
Jacksonville, Florida/Berlin, Germany
I’m running a fever and my throat feels funny, like sandpaper
against a peeled grape. In my head I run through the schedule: three
hours at the Best Western by Jacksonville Airport, a ten-hour layover
in New York to do laundry and a dozen other errands, then the
eight-hour flight to Europe. Negotiating with one’s immune system is
regular business for the touring musician, but this time I don’t have
much bargaining power.So I beg for a favor. Please oh please let my
voice hold up for this show, I promise there will be sleep and NyQuil
and other nice things soon, really there will, just not yet, hang in
there a little bit longer. I drink buckets of herbal tea and try not to
talk. At the hotel in Berlin I sleep for about sixteen hours. And my
body, thank you thank you I swear I’ll pay you back for this, lets me
off easy. By the time we take the stage at Quasimodo, I’m loopy as hell
but well on the mend. The audience cheers, the adrenaline flows, and I
know everything is going to be just fine.
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