The last day of another month…this has been one of the most concentrated in terms of touring for quite some time. Fourteen shows have been spread over three weeks on the road, with over two thousand miles driven in Europe in the last stretch. At least the weather was kinder this time than on the last Western Europe stint – the snow held off until the very last day. Still, this felt like a long tour – having only a few days off between the Spanish and Northern European legs didn’t really give much time for rest – and I was/am pretty tired by the end of it.
This time I played 87 different songs in the course of the tour. Some of these hadn’t been visited for a very long time. Of course, some of the versions fell quite a long way shy of being definitive (!) but it’s still fun to push, push, push in this way.
It’s not just game-playing, or (for, effectively, my own amusement) statistical game-playing. Different though each night’s set is from the next I have to maintain simultaneous awareness that some people get to see a lot of shows, some only one show every few years – or, indeed, ever. Any set, therefore, must be reasonably representative of the diversity of styles, content and age which the, ahem, Peter Hammill songbook contains. Sometimes it takes me nearly as long to work out what will be in the set as it does to play it.
Without being morbid, a serious point about doing so many songs (and yes, there are still others that I have on my potentially-to-be-played lists) is that as and when I’m done with playing then all these songs will be stilled. They’ll continue to be there, of course, in recorded form but that’s rather a different thing to the wild life which can exist in the unpredictable interaction between voice and piece on stage.
I really don’t mean to be morbid…but the time of these songs’ lives is finite and we’re now evidently quite a long way down it.
Not that I mean to give any intimation that I’m on the verge of stopping either the solo stuff or (whatever it is which might await us in the future in) VdGG world. The fact is, though, that playing and public performance is now done for the year and that leads to a certain ruminative view of things.
It’s been a great year, so many enjoyable shows, such fantastic tours….
And now I’m going to be beavering away quietly and privately in pursuit of whatever’s going to come in 2013. AS they say, don’t know where, don’t know when….don’t know what at all, actually!