Culture Trippin’

“You have to go, it’s a historic event.”

In three weeks, the band Genesis would be playing its last show ever and my twin encouraged me to attend. “It’s rock n’ roll history.”

I hear London Calling.

After two years of pandemic isolation, my body aches for Art, Theatre, and Live Music. 

Further, April is a month of anniversaries that swivels my soul. They’re only numbers, but my cells know – the date of the accident, of marriage, of death. Pieces of April.

So for the last eleven years during that month, I stay on the move – pushing away the familiar, welcoming the strange, distancing from and celebrating…love.

Once arriving to the United Kingdom, I remember what I’d forgotten. With the pandemic-imposed restrictions, life transmuted into quotidian ritual. Without stimulation or challenge, the decision-making process is dulled. I was out of practice! As an explorer, there are daily considerations: Where to stay? What transport to take? Where to eat? What to do of value this day? Why am I here?! ;)

Stop overthinking. To sharpen the skill, make the move and groove with it. 

When booking the Paul Carrack concert, I scheduled only two nights in Amsterdam. Afterward, I questioned my decision. “Why didn’t I reserve at least five nights in that fabulous city? What was I thinking?”

Back off. Just trust.   It’s empowering to replace the word ‘doubt’ with ‘trust.’

Then, I spy…

A publication of ‘What’s On’ in London’s West End, listed Sting playing five nights at the London Palladium. There was only one seat available for the entire engagement – on Sunday, the day after my return. If I would have booked an extra night in Amsterdam, I would have missed the gig. I’ve never been a big follower…but well, it’s Sting. 

This trip was evolving into a magical musical tour…Roll up.

Caution: Viewing may cause dizziness. (To connect with live music, for the benefit of myself and others’, I disengage from ‘the gadget’ – exceptions were made with you in mind.)

“Who Are You?”
The night before Genesis, The Who played a benefit for the Teenage Cancer Trust at Royal Albert Hall. Daltry and Townsend have performed for this charity for years. For free. Unlike in America where Daltry noted something to the effect that, “there, they pay the musicians to fundraise. Pay them? That’s not charity, is it?” Respect, Roger.
“Yay”, I say! “Let My Love Open the Door”.
“Don’t Get Fooled Again”. Solid strumming, Mr. Townsend.
Royal Albert Hall on its feet. OldAge Wasteland.
In the Beginning, Genesis – “Turn It On Again”.
eerie “Mama”
Fans illuminate the O2 Arena with a mass of mobile lights to “Follow You Follow Me”.
A j”ahh”-dropping moment, kinda felt like a group hug.
“Carpet Crawlers” nearing the End.
Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Tony Banks. Genesis’ Final Bow.
For his encore, Amsterdam finally on their feet. “Over My Shoulder”, a song he sang with Mike and the Mechanics (that’s Mike Rutherford of Genesis). Dig the connection.
“Eyes of Blue”ooo.
“Dedicated”. To hear a song for the first time and feel your cheeks moisten with tears is ‘out of the common’. But the soul in that high note…
“Precious Time”. (Yeah, you right.)
“Satisfy my Soul”. Can you hear, feel the juxtaposition of saxophone as voice and voice as instrument?
Sting, London Palladium. “Roxanne” segue into “It Don’t Mean A Thing”.
“King of Pain”.
“So Lonely” (doubtful).
“Walking on The Moon”.
Zucchero plays Royal Albert Hall.

All above musicians are now in their 70’s, and their styles?
Roger Daltry – jeans and sneakers. Pete Townsend – tweed. Paul Carrack – a hat and a wee bit o’ heft.

Sting – satin jacket and leather pants. Zucchero – Italian, enough said.
Both…Rock Star Bad Ass Cool.
Powerful in any language.
“Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime”.

Lady in box next to mine leans over and asks, “Do you speak Italian?”
I say, “Oh no, I can’t understand a bloody word of what he’s singing…but I feel it.”
She nods in agreement, and places her hands on her heart.
Rock, Italian.

All above musicians, virtuosos.

Each performance, “Best show ever.”

Now on a minor note –

The Troubadour, London: Daniel Takes A Train …(to 80’s hell; I maintain sanity by departing after these first few notes (even after paying Ł20 entry).
My second and final appearance at The Troubador. I am too ‘mature’ and discerning for this scene. The child on stage “sings” something about “time to go” and it is.

Alas, we must accept the bad with the good. Not every day is a Doris Day, and not every band plays music that moves me. Smiling helps.
Daniel and Norm play The Crafty Baa, Keswick in The Lake District (flocks of sheep outside of town).
Good gods, no. A sing-along?! However, after suffering the sounds at The Troubadour days earlier, this respite feeling of community was confection.
Monday night jazz at one of the hippest bars on the planet, The Bees Mouth, Brighton (“Hove, Actually”).

The excellence in music, Shakespeare’s plays, London’s West End Theatre, Art museums and installations…equal the impressiveness of the people I encountered along the way.

More on that next time. Until then,


“I Know It’s Only Rock n’ Roll and I Like It.” – The Rolling Stones


Comments are closed.