FAQ: Leo Sayer, Amsterdam, and Romantic Heroes

— We Also Saw Leo Sayer, 14 May 2010 —

I once had a friend who had leg troubles. One leg, I think, was shorter than the other. I too have that problem but it hasn’t stopped me from making something of myself. Anyway, this friend of mine sent out a Christmas card with a picture of an orthopedic shoe but without his name. Unfortunately, no one knew who the card came from. Cathy, in the previous journal entry, made the same mistake only worse. She thought everyone would know that “NbC” meant “Note by Cathy.”

Just played the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. (NbC: Currently, the Euro is at $1.26.) I played here almost 40 years ago. There, now you can figure out how old I really am. There are about 25 red steps that lead to the stage from the balcony. I went down the steps to the stage and I made it. Does everyone look at their feet when they go down the stairs? I’m not going to joke around any more. For some songs the audience applauded during the intro as if they were hits. Birmingham, for instance, and Lonely at the Top. I think I had two albums that sold inordinately well here. I saw Suzanne and Jeroen back stage after the show. Jeroen is still a basso profundo. Suzanne is not a basso profundo but is nice as ever. (NbC: He said he wasn’t going to be funny anymore.)

I played Eindhoven yesterday. It was once, and still is to some extent, a factory town for Philips Electronics. I think it was the best show so far. When I played here before I found it difficult to make the audience laugh much. Maybe their English wasn’t quite as good as in Gronigen say. (NbC: It’s time for sound check ….)

Speaking of the journal, Cathy just reminded me about the hotel in Brussels. It was odd. We arrived in the afternoon – my wife Gretchen, Cathy, Bo, and I – and a guy checked us in. We went upstairs and the same guy brought the bags up. A few hours later I had to send some laundry out and the same guy came up to get the laundry. Went down to dinner and there he was again as maitre d’ and waiter. After we ordered he said, “I’ll go prepare your meal” – this is in a big hotel you understand – either there was a strike or a major holiday, it’s hard to figure. I went to get a massage the next day and I went to the spa desk and he wasn’t there but he soon arrived and gave me the best and most meaningful massage I’ve ever had. Jack was his name as in jack-of-all-trades perhaps. Gretchen has gone home but I’m glad to say that Jack is still with us. We smuggled him out of Brussels into Holland and dropped him at a hotel here in Turnhout.

Today is a day off. I took a walk up the river. I never noticed how beautiful this city is. The canals, the bridges, the boats. It reminds me of Los Angeles. The other night after the show in the Concertgebouw the guy who manages the theatre was standing with Cathy and Bo watching the people exit. After a while, he said to Cathy, “So many men! Usually it’s closer to 50/50.” I found that a little disheartening. One time, Lenny and Russ, my producers, made a mock promo with Harry Shearer, later with the Simpsons, it opened this way: “Newman! Music men like.” Maybe they were right. I should’ve written more love songs. The love songs I do write, for instance, Emotional Girl, Bad News From Home, Same Girl are as much about the narrator’s character as about the Beloved or the “relationship”. I think I don’t see myself as a Romantic Hero though I am one.

The answer to last week’s question is Leonard Cohen and/or Miss Joni Mitchell. Here’s another: (remember 5 Euros to the Foundation in Tulsa) Should I ever again play Yellow Man in Belgium?

The answer is no. Explain.

More about Gretchen’s European Vacation later.