Observations of the European Invasion by TooFastJim

   April 1 (Thursday): - Arrive at Frodo's 11:08am after two hour drive in pouring rain only to find Rudy's locked car & Frodo's locked house. Get a message on cell phone - Rudy had forgotten his passport, so he and Frodo had driven back to Rhode Island to get it & were now 30 minutes away from returning. The hired Mercury Grand Marquis arrives shortly before noon, followed soon after by Rudy and Frodo. Squeeze all the gear into the one large car & speed to the airport in a traction-reducing, visibility-hampering deluge (walls of water from opposing traffic were breaking about 7-10ft over the Jersey barrier onto our windshield). Quick through security - meet Dano & eat at Burger King. Soon board the plane & enjoy several glasses of The Glen Livet and a good day's sleep - somewhere in there we may have stopped and changed planes in Chicago.

   2 April (Vrijdag): - Arrive in Brussels 8am -Gert picks us up in the infamous Citroen Jumper (not to be confused with Citroen's entry into the smaller van/car hybrid market - The Jumpee) & head to Antwerp for a quick tour of his brother's diamond polishing shop - then its on to Lichtaart & the familiar sights & sounds (and smells) of the neerhof www.akkerhuisje.be After an afternoon nap, we are picked up at 5:30 and driven to Merkhoven - about 15-20 minutes away. The Cafe Den Bolle is a crowded bar with no stage and many drunks - one of which decided to leave while we were eating frites & kebabs outside, & after several attempts, managed to finally open his car door and squeeze his liquor-stained girth behind the wheel. After another 5 minutes or so, the key found the ignition and he tore off almost taking out a few pedestrians and/or bicyclists in the process. After dinner, we swapped out the old sticker-riddled front bass drum head & installed the new The Nebulas logo head, designed and built especially for the tour, in its place. The '72 Sonor drum kit had received new tom heads (top and bottom), so it was sounding better than last time. Gert had picked up a blackface Showman with matching 1x15 cabinet (with flight case) for Rudy to use, but it wasn't sounding up to snuff. It was a good "first performance" gig, but the voluminous audience was somewhat ambivalent to whatever it is that we do. Still, a good first show in my opinion. Our famed photographer Phillipe Carly of New Wave photos was there to meet us & document the show http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas3.htm

   3 April (Zaterdag): - Slept til 3pm. Rudy starts messing with the amp - speaker is blown and/or doesn't work right. Ludo (and his eldest son Kevin) pick us up at 6pm & we drive to the Batirock (club) in nearby Vorselaar, about 15 minutes away. Load in, set up & sound check - we were to be the first of 3 or 4 bands. The venue was fairly large with a big stage, full lights & PA. There were barricades in front of the stage and around the beer dispensory area - appeared as though they were anticpating a crowd reminiscent of 1983's US Festival, but Triumph wasn't on the bill tonight, and that crowd never appeared. We meet up with Pat (Dunlop Devils) and his wife, Ann and head downstairs for a dinner of spaghetti, sammiches & beer. Change into our matching shirts du jour & begin our set promptly at 8pm in front of a small crowd that didn't seem to care too much about surf, but appeared to enjoy the show - they certainly liked us more than the next band. While Rudy and I proceeded to drink many Duvels, the next band took the stage and started churning out cover songs spanning three decades of classic rock: Midnight Oil, Gin Blossoms, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Eliminator-era ZZ Top & nobody cares what else. After a while, some of us were drunk and all of us were bored, so we left. Pat & Ann follow us back home so Pat can pick up a couple of blue reissue Fender Jaguars Dan had smuggled over in his ass (or his luggage). At 1:30am, we decide to take the bicycles out for a 3 mile (5km) jaunt to the next village. Rudy pops a tire & I fall twice. Get back to the house - Rudy pukes black stuff and swears off drinking forever while the rest of us sleep.

   4 April (Zondag): - Slept late again - well into the afternoon- then down to the Kieken Club (restaurant) for sammiches before being picked up and driven northeast into Holland and then back into Belgium, arriving at the town of Hamont-Achel to perform at the Cafe de Volbloed (translates into "thoroughbred" in Dutch, which would explain the picture of the horse on the sign) - a very small bar inside with a slightly larger, semi-outdoor crowd overflow area. This was a multi-band fest in honor of Palm Sunday (and a good opportunity to promote Palm beer). Went next door to some Middle Eastern pizza place - ordered a neopolitan pizza, which came back loaded with anchovies - next time I will read the menu more carfeully. Tight squeeze getting our stuff through the packed crowd & onstage while the other band (more covers) were loading out. Played a good set - audience really enjoyed it - especially two drunk chicks that tried to grab --------'s todger while we were still on stage (and then again later outside). Probably the best show so far on the tour & once again we were fortunate enough to have Phillipe there to snap some photos, which can be seen here: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas4.htm Also, props to Cor and his wife for showing up - last year, he had purchased everything we had to sell at our 013 gig in Tilburg, so this time, he picked up the new CD, and now he once again owns every item in the The Nebulas merchandise catalog.

   5 April (Maandag): - Our first day off - Phillipe picks us up at 10:30am & we head to the medieval city of Bruges for lunch and a stroll (or limp) through the canal-fretted former capital of the Burgundian monarch, Charles the Bold. Pictures of The Nebulas in Bruges are here: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas5.htm After that, we made the one hour trek south to Brussels for more sightseeing. After negotiating a couple of hotel rooms for 100E each, we embarked on a lengthy tour of Brussels (upper and lower) via car and foot, stopping briefly to enjoy a dinner of Argentine steak- then the tour resumed, circling the walled compound of King Albert II & visiting the Atomium (the giant iron molecule replica built for the 1958 World Exhibition) in the pouring rain. After driving by a house that "looks American" at 1:30am, we eventually get back to the hotel for a few hours sleep.

   6 April (Dinsdag): - Phillipe arrives at 7:30am & we have a quick petit dejeuner before the 3 and a half hour drive to Paris, during which we pass a huge mound of dirt (147 ft high to be exact) commemorating Napolean's defeat at Waterloo (June 18, 1815). Arrive in Paris @ 11:30 & head to the Louvre only to discover that Tuesday (Mardi) is "no culture day" in Paris, so it was closed. We march up the Champs Elysees, stop briefly for lunch at a grossly overpriced American-themed pizza restaurant, and then on to the Arc de Triomphe. We climb the never-ending spiral staircase to the top & hang out for a few minutes - then its back down & onto the next quintessential tourist destination: The Eiffel Tower. Lines were too long to go up, so we headed over to Notre Dame cathedral & hung out there for awhile before eventually heading back to Belgium around 6:30. Pictures from Phillipe are here: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas6.htm Arrive back at the neerhof at 11pm for our last night of civilized living for a few days. The next day we were scheduled to move to "the cabin in the woods," as the neerhof had been rented to some Audi-driving tourists with bicycles, so we lived it up and made full use of our high-speed internet access, cable television (with "tits after ten" most nights & girls coerced into jumping on trampolines on the weekends) and of course Tetris.

   7 April (Woensdag): - Wake up at 10:30am - Gert is already en route to move us to the woods; meanwhile, the Audi-driving tourists with bicycles are in the driveway with smug looks on their faces. The cabin is located one village over (maybe in Gierle) down a long dirt road, through a cow field and into the woods - a good 30 minute walk from any place that sold beer or Pringles. We load the gear and luggage into the cabin, throw a few logs in the wood stove & each choose our own dank mattresses to call our own. We also take notice of a Big Ray & The Futuras "Horrorscope" 7-inch proudly thumbtacked to the wall in the kitchen. After sleeping most of the afternoon, the Jumper arrives to take us to Gent for our show at the Frontline - our first show at a club we had played last October. We ate at an outdoor frite stand near the club before loading in. The club was under construction last time & I did notice a little finishing had been done in the last 6 months - now there was more than a sole space heater hanging from the wall used to heat the place. The corroded piss trough was still the same - and still located as soon as you walked in the front door of the club. We stacked our gear on the side & set up the drums - we would go on last, but all the bands would be using the "surfing airlines" Sonor kit to save time during the changeover. Rudy, Eric and Dan went across the street to go bowling, while I stayed behind with my bum ankle, dwindling supply of vicodin and a steady stream of Duvel to watch the other bands.. First up was Kaiser Bill's Batmen - a trad sounding trio that played mostly (if not all) covers including the standards and had a gogo dancer. The guitar player used a jag through a SF Dual Showman Reverb running tandem with a Super Reverb. Check out the Batmen here http://users.pandora.be/kbb/start.htm Next up was NowMowTraveno www.nowmowtraveno.tk who played a short set of less-trad sounding-but-more-original instrumentals. I just re-listened to the 4-song demo they gave me & I think they sounded more aggressive live, but the demo is very good - they may have played "50 Bucks a Midget" - in fact I'm pretty sure it was them. I also recall hearing some Penetrators over the PA between bands. Anyhoo, last up was The Nebulas - by now the room had filled up somewhat, but not like the big crowd we had at this venue the previous year, although that show was on a Thursday, while this was a Wednesday...still a good crowd & probably a better audience than our average weekend show around New England - at least as far as enthusiasm & numbers are concerned. I remember dropping a stick during the "drums only" part of "Green Room" and then breaking the bass drum pedal during "The Pier." After some grumbling, the piece was fixed and we finished the set and headed back to the woods. Surf list Jerry was at the show, as was Jenz DW from Fifty Foot Combo.

   8 April (Donderdag): - Gert picks us up at 6:30pm and we cross the Dutch border and head to Driebergen and Club Makkers - a small bar in a very affluent neighborhood. The owner is very excited to have us there and fed and drank us well while Eric dismantled his cabinet for some maintenance. There was a fairly large (and occasionally vocal) dog roaming around the bar who wound up squeezing out a heatstick in an empty corner in the back of the bar near the pool table...while we were eating of course. Poor drunk bastard dog owner had to put his beer down to wipe up the curly stew at the insistence of the manager. Anyhoo, we played for about an hour, had a good response & had the bartender modeling our baby tshirt (available in one size only: hot).

   9 April (Vrijdag): - Slept til 2:30pm - picked up at 4 & drove back to Holland and the city of S'Hertogenbosch (translates into "the Duke's woods") for a show at the W2 Concertzaal - a large theatre-type place with big stage (with a curtain), full sound & lights, dressing room and even a coat-check girl. We set up and do a soundcheck - then clear the stage for Planet Creep to set up and do the same. Planet Creep went on first - definitley non-trad, more-instro-than-surf sounding band that was really good on stage & got the crowd stoked. Check them out here: http://www.planetcreep.com/ For this show, we had the sound guy play the Imperial March theme from Star Wars - the music stopped & the curtain opened to reveal us wearing our skull masks for the first time on the tour. We launched into a 1 hour set (masked lasted about 3 or 4 songs). The show wound up being filmed, but sound quality on the video is somewhat bad (too much drums, not enough guitar). Fortunately, I don't think it was an accurate representation of how we really sounded - at least based on the feedback we received after the show. Thanks to Wannes, Cor and his wife for showing up. After the show, we hopped in the Jumper with Ludo for a non-stop 8 hour drive to Switzerland via the Autobahn. It had gotten a bit cold, so around the 3rd rest stop, I ripped the iron cross patch off my Nebulas jacket. Wearing it didn't bother me in the US, or even the low countries, but we were advised against displaying the emblem in the Rhineland. Rather than hide my jacket in shame, I chose to modify it for German use.

   10 April (Samstag): - Arrive at the Swiss border around 8:30am - stand by while passports are checked & the van searched for contra-band merchandise. This took a few minutes, but they found nothing with the possible exception of Frodo's rolled up iron cross belt in the glove compartment - like that wasn't the first place they would look. Anyhoo, we were sent on our way without incident. Less than one minute later, as the van gradually rumbled into third gear, a local police car pulls in front of us, turns on its lights and displays an LED crawl message in German instructing us to pull over. Out with the passports again (which were checked via a computer in the cruiser's trunk). This time we received a verbal warning for driving too slow. We proceeded on as fast as we could to the small village of Wil, arriving at the Hotel Ochsen just in time for breakfast at 10:15. Everyone else went to sleep immediately thereafter, but I chose to wander around the town in the rain and snow, stopping to buy a black hat for 50 Swiss Francs. I eventually returned the hotel & took a short nap before getting up to head to the club, 10 minutes away.

The graffiti-laden exterior of Club Remise makes it look like a crack house at first glance (and being located at the end of a dead end street next to a seldom-used railroad spur near a grain silo certainly feeds that impression), but inside is a big room with a balcony, full sound system and visual effects - a great room by all standards with a bunch of "classic" American surf/garage/punk posters from the 90s (MOAM; Rev Horton Heat, Cavestomp, Deadbolt, etc.) on the walls. We participated in what was being billed as a "surf party," featuring a surf DJ - The Nebulas - and then the DJ again. After eating some Thai food (go figure), the doors opened at 10pm and the DJ started spinning a variety of 60s surf (some familiar and expected; some not) through the PA with some Bruce Brown flicks (The Wet Set among others) being shown on a mammoth screen that covered the entire back of the stage (probably 15' x 30'), I remember thinking this is really cool, but my past experiences with American surf shows coupled with my usual beer-fueled cynicism made we wonder how many other people in this little hamlet would be into it. Then I saw the line stretching out the door and around the building. By the time we went on around 11:15, the place was packed top to bottom with 400+ dancing kids (at least 80% were probably under 25). The went absolutely crazy through our whole 75 minute set, and kept on going long after we finished and the DJ started spinning surf again. The place was so crowded that we were virtually trapped on stage for an hour and a half with our gear packed up, unable to load out. Finally at 2am, we forced our way out the side door with the assistance of the owner who was sympathetic to the fact we had to be on the road at 6:30am for another long drive through Germany to our next gig in Belgium. I'd love to think that 400 people heard we were coming and wanted to check us out, but the simple fact is that these kids just dig surf a hell of a lot, and equate a surf-themed party with a good time and I felt priviledged to be a small part of their good time. I also feel priviledged because the bar owner gave me free beer and a chocolate easter bunny. I've never seen so many people dancing to surf music, let alone our surf music. There was one obvious, thumb-twiddling surf music geek present, but even his shoes were moving too fast to gaze at for long periods of time without causing a seizure - or maybe it was a seizure that caused his feet to move so fast - I really don't know. What I do know is if 400 people start going apeshit when the DJ plays "Pintor" by The Pharohs, then I think you've found yourself a surf crowd. Get back to the hotel at 3am & watch some interesting commercials - alot more graphic than in the US & here you can actually see the "girls going wild" - then you can call the "acht acht funf" number to hear more ("sieben drei vier" if you're calling from Austria) - sure makes learning the German numbers easy (eine zwei drei vier fünf sechs sieben acht neun).

   11 April (Sonndag): - Up at 6am - on the road by 7am - eight-and-a-half hours to Turnhout, stopping for breakfast in Germany -the club owner (Rouven) from the previous night gave us money for breakfast knowing we would have to leave the hotel (which he also paid for) before they started serving breakfast. Halfway through Germany, we stop at a Burger King: Do you know what they call a Double Whopper in Germany? A "Doppel Whopper." What do they call a Big Mac in Germany? We don't know; we didn't go to McDonalds. Arrive at Jh Wollewei at 3:30 & sluggishly load in and set up. Cases of beer and soda are wheeled in to the dressing room (a former church sanctuary). Patrick (Dunlop Devils) and his wife Ann show up (as did Phillipe the photog) & we ate another first class meal cooked on the premises. This gig was part of the "Rockin' Around Turnhout" festival, a 15-bar pub crawl with about as many bands, each playing 4- 30 minute sets with an hour off between performances (to allow the crowd to "crawl" to another bar and check out other bands) - its basically like a 3-day festival like The Vegas Rockaround or Sleazefest crammed into one night - the free cases of beer + the sheets of free drink tickets we got only added to the excitement. The first of our four sets began at 9:30am - black shirts and blue ties for this one - good crowd. We blast through our half hour vowing not to repeat a song (or a uniform) during our subsequent sets. Phillipe was there to capture it all on film, or digital photo chip as the case may be - the first set is here: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas7.htm We then trek to another bar to say hi to Reefrider, whom we played with last year. The small pub they were playing in made it difficult to weave through the packed audience and then back out in a timely fashion. We rushed out & headed back to Wollewei to change into our white shirts and black ties for our second set. More people here now than for the first set, but many repeat visitors. Phillipe's photos from this set are here: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas8.htm This time we chose to hang around the club & relax between sets, signing pictures, CDs, posters & people. Gert had hung a bunch of our posters to promote our upcoming show at a nearby club - god damn finkelstein shit kids ripped most of them down and had us sign them. Third set began at 12:30am - probably the best attendance of the night - we wore black shirts, white ties and masks for this one. See: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas9.htm By now, we were all tired, having had only minimal sleep for the past 3 days, but adrenaline and Tuborg kept us (me) going for our fourth and final set, which began at 2am & featured the return of our Star Trek uniforms: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas10.htm

   12 April (Maandag): - Another day off - sleep really late & then move back to the comforts of the neerhof. Later in the afternoon, Ann picked us up to see the Dunlop Devils play in a nearby village for some sort of post-Easter (everyone has the Monday after Easter off in Europe) carnival. It was somewhat relaxing (and strange) to be at a show knowing we didn't have to play or load stuff, but that's what days off are for. Patrick his new blue Jag (formerly owned by Dano) and the Dunlop Devils played what I thought was a good set (although he may disagree) featuring many covers including dd's "The Victor" and a surprise version of The Nebulas' "Spanito Bandito," which none of us were expecting. More on the Devils here: http://www.dunlopdevils.tk/ After eating some "bicky burgers" and frites, we head back home for tetris, tv and cards.

   13 April (Dinsdag): - "Frodo goes to Amsterdam" - Gert picks Eric and I up at 8am and drives us to Antwerp Central Station where we catch a train to Amsterdam, arriving there at 12:30. After a quick lunch at BK, we wander off to find the Vincent Van Gogh (pronounced "van goff") museum. As usual, we got lost and wound up walking around in semi-circles for 2 hours before happening upon the attraction. Get lost again (although not quite as bad as before) on our way back to the red light district. Not as many hookers as last year, possibly due to a new law that requires all the hooahs to be Dutch nationals. I guess the government is trying to clamp down on the sex slave trade from Eastern Europe. Plus, we were there in the afternoon & all the "A" talent doesn't come out until later - lots of empty windows during daylight hours. We board the train to Antwerp at 5:25, arriving at the Belgian city at 7:30. Another half hour train ride and we should be home. Should be. We caught the 7:55 train to Herentals...or so we thought. The sign said "Herentals/Louven" or Lier or some other city that began with an "L." The important feature of that sign was the "/," which apparently means that only 2 of the cars would be going to Herentals, while the first four cars would split off and go to the "L" city. This was all explained to us (in Dutch) over the loudspeaker on the train, but the monolinguistic, ugly Americans that we are didn't pick up on it until the train shuts down for good at 9pm. We get out and check the schedule to see where we are, and how to get to where we want to be. The engineer is sympathetic to our situation and seats us in the front car of the train heading in the right direction and tells the female conductor-ette of our plight. Apparently in Belgium, if you're a loser tourist that can't figure out what train you're supposed to be on, you don't have to pay extra to get where you're going. Anyhoo, they tell us at which stop to get off, and which train to take to finally get to Herentals. We arrive at Herentals at aound 10:56 - walk outside just in time to see the 10:57 bus leaving toward Lichtaart. We walk the 8km (5 miles) on a pitch black road, stirring up a few critters in a field on the way back. Get back to the house at 1am - totally exhausted - how's that for ankle therapy? Yeah, seven and a half hours for what should be a three hour trip - that's about right.

   14 April (Woensdag): - Tonight we're playing locally in Gierle -about 5 minutes away. Notice Slacktone & Hypnotic IV stickers at the club. We met The Star and Key of the Indian Ocean - the French surf band with whom we would be playing (and who would be sharing our comfortable abode for the night). Very small crowd, but it was a Wednesday and it was a small town. Still, you can't complain about free pizza and beer, and we'd rather be playing than staying at home - especially at a place so close. The Star and Key were pretty good - kind of a surf/frat rock thing that sounded authentic. Played some covers ("The Crusher" and "Surfari") as well as some originals, some with vocals They wore black shirts and white (or red) ties, so we wore the white shirts/black ties. Back at the house, we sampled the beer they had collected on their short tour through Belgium and Holland - they also tried to explain and demonstrate what a "souflet" was, but it must be a French thing and I didn't get it (or want it). The small rhyhm guitar player was jumping around the house like a little monkey boy & tried to perch on Rudy's shoulder for a quick photo op. In the morning, they were playing some Sonics on the stereo, before leaving for their next show in Cologne, Germany. Check them out here: http://www.star-and-key.fr.st/ And just in case anyone was wondering what the F**K is up with their name (I know I was), the story goes like this: Their first drummer was from the island of Mauritius - an island in the Indian Ocean that was discovered by the Portuguese, colonized by the Dutch, then the French and then ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, finally gaining its independence in 1968. The island's official motto is: Stella Clavisque Maris Indici, which of course is Latin for "Star and Key of the Indian Ocean." Also, in 1847, Mauritius became the fifth country in the world to issue postage stamps. So, the band got there name from the motto of the island that their first drummer was from.

   15 April (Donderdag): - Drove to Tilburg, Holland to play at the Little Devil - a small club with a restaurant/bar in the front & a room in the back with a stage. We set up & then go next door for "pepperoni" pizza - no actual pepperoni on the pizza - just really hot pepper. Drink lots of Grolsch to soothe the open pepper sores - then played a quick set for the enthusiastic crowd of 25-30 and went home.

   16 April (Vrijdag): - We were glad to be going back to Ernesto's (in Sittard, Holland) and had been looking forward to the show the whole tour since having such a good time there last year. After asking for directions to the Sittard centrum (our sexy Dutch-speaking GPS device had been out of commission), we pulled up to the club - pissing off the people on the patio by blocking their view of the city square with our van. We went inside and ordered some of the best Mexican food in Holland & soon met Jan & Remo from Music Machine Records (they own a nearby record store, which they opened up for us; they would also be spinning surf tunes between our two sets; they also co-released Fifty Foot Combo's new live CD/double LP - recorded live at Ernesto's). The crowd wasn't quite as big as last year, but the place was still well populated with new fans and many that had seen us in '03. We finally got up and played out first set on the tiny stage - then took a short break to do shots of tequila with Ernesto, before he went upstairs and passed out. Outside, there was a girl with a red "The Nebulas" logo hand painted on a black shirt - she confessed that she painted it herself because she didn't have the money to buy one of ours last time.. I guess as long as she wasn't trying to sell 50 of them out front, it was ok. You have to appreciate the effort. We then played our second set, after which two people said we should release our CD as a vinyl LP. NIce idea, but that would only mean we'd be out a few grand and have 998 vinyl LPs in a box at home. No deal. We had borrowed Gert's mini-disc recorder in hopes of capturing some of our final performances for posterity, but this endeavor wound up being too distorted for our tastes.

   17 April (Zaterdag): - Ann picked us up and took us to Antwerp for lunch and some record shopping - Rudy found a copy of At Home with Satan's Pilgrims on vinyl (which I later traded him the S/P self titled LP for - now my collection is complete). We saw a copy of Surfin With The Astronauts for 30Euro, but decided to pass. After hanging out at Patrick and Ann's sweet condo, and meeting their 28 cats, Gert picked us up and we headed to the nearby town of Temse for a three band show at Den Artiste - or De Nartiste or something to that effect. After passing on dinner (I was still stuffed from lunch), I started drinking Hoegaarden beer and watched the Dunlop Devils begin their set. Next up were The Hawaiian Astroboys, who we played with last year & they played a good set as usual - including a version of SP's "Surf Lyre." Finally it was our turn - noticed that Roland from the Lunar Tikis (and the online surf lists) had come out. Toward the end of our set, we brought Patrick up with his new blue Jag to play lead on "Spanito Bandito." Crowd seemed pleased by the whole night's festivities and Frodo was still selling merch when we were ready to leave. Phillipe was also there & took these here pictures: http://www.newwavephotos.com/Nebulas11.htm There are also pictures of the Dunlop Devils and Hawaiian Astroboys elsewhere on his site (go to the index page and click on the band names).

   18 April (Zondag): - last show of the tour. Eric and Rudy wanted to get tattoos, so Ann picked us up again and took us back to the cat condo for breakfast (watched one cat piss in the sink). Then we went to Antwerp, but the tattoo places were closed, so we walked through the red light district and looked at hookers before venturing into some subterrenean former monk hideout for coffee and/or beer. From there, Patrick and Ann drove us straight to the gig in Zoutleeuw - again, another place we played last time & had a good time. Prior to arriving, Gert called and said the club manager wanted us to go on at 7;30 instead of 9pm as we had been told. We arrive at 7:35 and quickly set up for the 10 people that were there. Without wasting too much time, we started playing our last set of the tour..bringing Patrick up again to play lead on Spanito. When we finished at 8:30 or so, all the people that were expecting us to play at 9 had shown up, so the place was full of people uinpleasantly surprised that we were finishing - we wound up play another 1/2 hour or so before packing up and heading down the street for some frites. Dan & Eric decided to hang out and catch a ride with Patrick and Ann, while Rudy and I, in a hurry to get home and pack, jumped in the Jumper with Gert - who took us on a drive-by tour of the hookers in St. Truiden. Unlike, the other red light districts we had seen (in Brussels, Antwerp and Amsterdam), this one was catered more to the drive up customer. We made it home in about an hour and finished packing.

   19 April (Maandag): - picked up at 6:15am and shuttled to the airport - checked in and had breakfast and for me, a few Hoegaardens before getting on the plane. Patrick & Phillipe had come to see us off and hung out with us while we waited for the boarding call. Again, the flight went pretty quick, at least for me. Eric had arranged a wheelchair for me in Chicago, to save me the agony of walking the (at least 1 mile if not 2) from the international terminal to customs. The best part is, the wheelchair line at customs was far shorter than the "normal people" line, so by the time the rest of the band got to baggage claim, I had ditched my wheelchair, wheelchair pusher and managed to get most of everyone's luggage off the conveyor. Another brief wait & we were on out way back to Boston, where it was 80 degrees when we landed at 7pm. Back at Eric's by 8, then I hit some major construction on I-290 through Worcester, adding some extra time to my drive home.