Welcome, my dear fellow music-lovers! Having been around home for nearly a year i had to confince myself i could still travel, so i took my old road-warrior-gear, got in the car and soldiered my way through again. It has been too long.. pills and bills ....
Well, i took off from Zwolle on fridaymorning and hit the road! The weather was great and besides a little trafic jam caused by an accident just north of Breda (NL) and the usual Paris-Peripherique-Hazzle, the road was very well do-able! I reached the French border north of Lille around 12.30 and got ready for my first pause at the 'Aire de Phalempin' (my regular first stop on the road to France)
I was very suprised to see that the restaurant had been taken away completely; as you can see in the picture above. So, this time i had to take myself to the gasstation's toilet, to let go some bodyfluids. My stops are mostly very short, so this time too, i drank a coffee and hit the A1 again to Paris, where i arrived a little less than 2 hours later.
The usual traffic jams didn't bother me as much as i thought they might (since this was my first trip out in well over a year, as i told you before; and i needed to prove to myself i could still do it. Otherwise it would be better to order some flowerpots to go sit behind for the rest of my life :)) )
My first visit in France was to my brother's house, the former Mary-Lou bassplayer Jean-Philippe Thepault, in Milly-La Foret. It's a little south of Paris, near Fontainebleau, exit number 13 on the A6 towards Lyon, to be exact. I arrived in the beautiful village of Milly-La Foret around 4 in the afternoon and since my brother was not to be home from work before something like 6 or 7, i made myself comfortable on a familiar terrase 'en Centre Ville'.
Time passed by smoothly there, having a few coffees, along with 2 'sandwiches aux jambon de payies' and one beer ('Pelforth'-blonde). A while later, i walked back to my car, to pick my newspaper and sat on another terras having a bubbled-water (yes, water!) 'Perrier'.
It was finally time to take the car onto the St.Laurent-road and meet my brother and his familly. The last time i saw him was well over some 2,5 years ago i'd say. Warm welcome, ofcourse! Like no time had passed at all! We sat outside having coffee and beer and watched the kids at their very active play :))
My my my, how the kids have grown; Tristan was the hight of the table last time i saw him and Marion had been just a baby. They raise well on their parents' love! It was so good to finally see my brother Jean-Philippe and his wife Berengere again.
The next morning, me and my brother took off for the region of Nevers (some 240-250 kms south of Paris), because i just HAD to see (very likely for the last time..) the remains of 'Le Tomahawk', the TexMex Diner where i played so many times (with Panama Red, with my son, with Xander, with Panama Red and Xander... etc) and where i'd been a very-welcome private holiday guest, too, when i wasn't even traveling for music; every time i was passing through the neighbourhood. I'll show you part of the road in the next clip below.
Once we got there it broke my heart.. really.. it's hard to describe the feeling i had.. it was a cocktail of emotions in tastes not very well consumable.. Damn you, progress of man... DAMN YOU!
Like my fellow road-warrior Panama Red would probably say: 'Let me tell you something!.... Here they had the best steak in the whole of France'.
Well, nothing is forever ... again .. I can't help feeling sorry for all you readers who never have been there. You truely missed something! But now it's too late....
So... yes ... The world might not know what we did just loose here, but some people DO know.
We just barely had time for a quick visit to Decize (beautiful town on the river 'La Loire', some 30 kms east of Nevers), to the new house of my dear friends Serge and Claudine, the owners of 'Le Tomahawk'. We had 30-40 minutes - roughly - or so to spare for a beer and coffee in their garden and then we already had to leave again, since i had a rendez-vous appointed with Mary-Lou in Corbeille near Paris between 16.30 and 17.00.
Once back in Milly-LaForet i kissed my brother goodbye and headed to Corbeille-Essonne. Another good-vibrations-rendez-vous it was, seeing Jean-Luc and Felicy again. We had to roll immediately, since there were people waiting for us in Paris. We first went to the house of Guy and Armelle Trioreau (very nice and friendly people!) in Palaiseau where we planned to spent the night sleeping, had some drinks and went off to Paris to get the entourage completed and to finally have dinner!
Laissez les bonnes temps roulez!
First we picked up their pianoman Stephan at Monparnasse-Station in downtown Paris and teamed up with David and his wife, a couple from Jacksonville, Florida, who had been in Paris a while and are very good friends of Mary-Lou and very friendly and open too. We had a wonderful dinner in a restaurant that Jean-Luc had picked out to eat. While on the table the famous fotographer (doing all the Mary-Lou CD-styling etc.etc.) Jocelyn Lecocq also joined us there.
After dinner we went back to Palaiseau and crashed into our beds, With the alarm set at 09.00 the next morning, i found that i was the first guest in the house to be awake. So after my first sigaret outside i went into the shower. After a while the rest of us came to life one by one and we had a wonderful breakfast and were welcomed by the kids too.
A little later we rolled out to the 'Espace les Hautes Garennes' to build up for the afternoon show on behalf of the sick Emily
(Concert de soutien au profit de l'association 'Pour les yeux d'Emilie', contact : firstname.lastname@example.org ). (more pictures to be added, once i receive them!)
Again i was encountered by the most friendly people in the world. I have a blessing of meeting only the nice French, i guess :))
After the soundcheck we went back to the house for lunch and i must say Armelle had really done some fine work on the salad and guiche.. GOOD FOOD! Thank you. After eating we had to go back for the show. I asked Guy if he wouldn't mind filming some of my show, so here it is.. If you wonder about who is the backing vocalist? It is Guy you hear singing along.. :)) 'Honky Tonk Blues...' LOVE IT! :))
I had my set made of the following songs:
1. Ain't no way (to break into your heart of stone) (Rob Dokter)
2. Rockabilly Blues (Johnny Cash)
3. Morning Time (Rob Dokter)
4. Things just won't settle down (Rob Dokter)
5. Tahitian Inn (Harry Hayward)
6. Weary Blues from waitin' (Hank Williams)
7. Honky Tonk Blues (Hank Williams)
8. Without your love (Rob Dokter)
9. Cry Cry Cry (Johnny Cash), that i totally fucked up!! sorry!
10. The Great Speckled Bird (Reverend Guy Smith)
After that it was Mary-Lou's time to do their show and i joined them for the final.
In this FINAL we played:
Continental Blues (Rob Dokter/Panama Red),
Out on the weekend (Neil Young),
the obligatoire final song 'Will the circle be unbroken' (since Mary0Lou always ends their show with this)
and then ofcourse the encore GOODNIGHT IRENE (Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter)
.... UNE! UNE! UNE! UNE!.....
Having sold 5 CD's and packing my guitar and stuff, i grabbed a coffee and some cookies to go and i went home. I drove all the way up to my house without even stopping to water-off in one stretch beginning to feel parts of my old road-warrior-senses (could have driven up to North Pole even, that night, i guess..) and arrived exactly (new time set, summerclock!) at midnight in my hometown Zwolle.