According to the official itinerary (painstakingly prepared by the band's very own tour manager, yrs trly), our first-ever European tour officially commenced on May 27 with a 9 AM rehearsal in New York. After that, we reconvened at JFK for a 5:45 PM Air Berlin flight to Düsseldorf. A huge shout-out to Air Berlin for not only being cool about all the instruments we brought aboard, but also arranging things so that all of the unbooked seats on the flight were in our section -- just in case anyone's instrument didn't fit in the overhead bin! (They did, of course, but airlines never believe you when you tell them this.)
We had been scheduled to arrive in Düsseldorf at 7:10 AM the next morning, but the flight was a titch late and we didn't really get rolling until 8:30 AM. As promised, our rental bass was already on the bus, which was also equipped with an on-board coffeemaker and a fridge stocked with Kronenbourg, sold on the honor system. (I still don't fully understand why a German bus company had French beer in the fridge, but hey.) Our awesome driver, Nazim, got us to our Amsterdam hotel around 11:30 AM, and those who could sleep, slept -- for a few hours at least. We had a 4:00 PM lobby call and then Nazim dropped us off at the Bimhuis for our soundcheck.
After a spectacular meal -- the Bimhuis chef pulled out all the stops for us -- the downbeat for our first set at the Bim came just after 8:30 PM. At this point we had been up for basically 34 hours. It's all a bit of a blur but I think we did okay. We played until about 11 PM and the post-show buzz was enough to extend the hang well into the wee hours. A handful of lunatics got up the next morning to go running before our 11:30 AM lobby call for the bus to Dortmund.