Tours are always tiring but this one definitely goes down in my book as the most exhausting ever. I arrive in Ankara full of cold and rapidly degenerate due to lack of sleep,lack of food,everything that could possibly go wrong actually going wrong, and the general stress of the current turbulent political situation in Turkey which we were not unaffected by. Part of my luggage goes AWOL, finally arriving in Ankara a day after me, the neck on Serpil’s saz has warped and my flute seems to have adopted some alternative tuning system all of its own accord. Still it’s amazing just how many things can be sorted out at the last minute on a cold and rainy day in Ankara.After an hour in Fortex Music my flute is like new again and Serpil manages to borrow another saz; but as the amount of surmounted obstacles start to stack up, I find myself wondering whether somebody is tyring to tell me that maybe doing the gig is not such an idea. With Lou due to arrive late the night before the gig, we are relying on a last minute run through with the new musicians from Ankara the next morning before we head off to the festival…
That night, there is a mix up at the airport, Lou is left waiting over 2 hours in the middle of the night and subsequently the morning rehearsal doesn’t happen. Finally when it’s time to set off for the festival venue, we have an endless breakneck walk with all our equipment because they are laying natural gas pipelines around where we are staying and the taxis are having problems getting through the traffic.
So waiting backstage at Bilkent Odeon, about 1 ½ hours after we were programmed on stage, you can see why, I am coming to the conclusion that we will not actually end up doing the gig after all. We have already tuned up about 3 times in expectation and the outdoor stage is getting colder and colder as night falls. When we finally do get on stage, I am shocked that we are actually going to perform after all and half expect the ground to open and swallow us up. Despite the freezing cold and lack of rehearsals, everyone is great and it is quite surreal playing with angels on the stage. Just as I am starting to warm up and remember why I love being a musician so much, I am told that some of the earlier bands have played for too long and our set has to be cut short…..
We get dropped off at home some hours later and Lou and I have promised ourselves a celebratory beer after the gig. It’s my first beer since arriving in Ankara but I am so tired by now that I can hardly drink it. We manage a small beer then walk wearily home through the rubble of the gas pipe excavations. The following day, covered in mounds of blankets to endure the cold, we get to relax and enjoy watching Hannah Berger and Cem Adrian at the festival. This is the lull before the next storm and when we got to Istanbul 2 days later things don’t get any easier. Anyway that is all for now, and just to prove that as they say “ the show must go on” here we are all smiles later..