Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Wir sind alles Berliner(s)
This picture was taken by our tour manager Steve Left, on our spring of 1990 tour of Europe. That's us, standing in front of what was remaining of the Berlin Wall. (Left to right, it's Ken Frank, David McIntire, Colorblind James, Phillip Marshall, Joe "The Bone" Colombo and James McAvaney.) Students of history will remember that the wall came came down in November of '89. We were touring then, and had some shows booked in Germany, including one in Berlin. Most of them fell through, being cancelled as we were flying to London. In the meantime, we plodded onwards with the rest of that surreal and depressing tour. We were aware that world-shaking events were unfolding, but we were preoccupied with our daily routine of travel and performing. At some point, we realized that our cancelled gig in Berlin had been scheduled for the very night that the wall came down. We would have been there for that momentous event. It was a bitter pill to swallow.
The tour concluded with us deep in debt and severely depressed as we prepared to fly home. The debacle that was our journey home will need its own separate posting, but suffice it to say, we were feeling low. But soon to be brought even lower, when, on the same plane as us was another band (I have no idea who they were) who HAD played in Berlin on that fateful night. They were exultant about the experience, telling people on the plane what a fantastic experience it had all been, how excited the East Berliners had been to hear American bands for the first time, how the clubs were all packed with enthusiastic throngs. I had an intense feeling that some cosmic plan had gone horribly wrong, and the fun, successful tour that was rightfully ours had been given to this other band somehow. It wasn't fair.
A few months later, we finally played in Berlin. By then, the excitement was over, and the gig was routine. We still took time to go to the wall and pay our respects.
Addendum: The title of this posting was a rough attempt to approximate the phrase from JFK's speech at the Berlin Wall where he declared, "Ich bin ein Berliner." The audience knew what he was trying to say and roared approvingly, but his statement more or less translates to "I am a jam-filled doughnut." Which should tell politicians to try out those phrases on native speakers BEFORE they make the big speech. Anyway, the actual plural would be "Berlineren."