Bruges (Nov 6 and 7)
If you are looking to spend a vacation in the Europe of fairytales and children’s books then Bruge is about as good a place to start as any. A damsel in distress, a couple of white knights on horseback, even a fire breathing dragon wouldn’t look out of place in this town. Apparently it is the best preserved medieval city in Europe and who am I to argue, this place is spectacular. Cobblestones, hidden grottos, canals, excellent food, 1030 varieties of beer, gothic architecture, medieval architecture, churches, cathedrals, museums, monasteries, Beguinages, ancient bridges, haunted houses, works by Masters, vials of holy blood, this city has it all. The only place you could find a more authentic medieval-European experience would be at Epcot Center or at your local Medieval Times restaurant…but I recommend Bruges, because of the beer selection. We were fortunate enough to have a day off here and we took full advantage of it (I have a question for any of you beer connoisseurs’ out there: there is a very distinctive taste to most Belgium beer, it could be a spice, it almost tastes like cloves, does anyone know what it is?).
The venue was equally spectacular: a late 19th century circular theatre with a fully raked stage and tiered balconies: very beautiful and it actually sounded decent as well. The show was a strange one but a very good one. Because of the type of stage there was a large distance between us and the audience it was also a very formal theatre, which can sometimes be intimidating to audiences and also, Belgium audiences are relatively reserved. So the energy coming from the audience during the show was very low, but that allowed us to turn inward a little bit and explore some very quiet and detailed improvisations. Judging by the reaction of the audience at the end of the show, I figure that they were very pleased with the result. This has been a pretty fantastic couple of days spent in a very special town.
Paris (Nov 8)
Paris is not Bruge. It’s not quaint or charming or easy to get around in. Paris is Paris, enormous and sprawling and beautiful out one window and ugly out the other. Paris is work unless you are on vacation. We rolled in this morning and had to dump ourselves off the bus because it, of course, can’t sit outside the club. It was cold and damp and….Paris. Don’t get me wrong, I love this city under the right conditions, but a one-off at a pokey club in the Pigalle District (the famous red light district of Paris) is not one of those conditions. But we’re pros, so we hunkered down and made the club our home for the day. And then again, when you get right down to it, work in Paris is pretty much better than work anywhere else in the world. So I had an espresso and pain au chocolate at a nearby cafe; some of us trekked uphill to pay their respects to Sacre Coeur; and we ate dinner at a nearby Cafe that fed us some mediocre food at very expensive Montmartre prices and then, I think, we were subjected to some kind of scam being run by the wait staff on gullible English speaking tourists…hey man, it’s Paris and you’re welcome.
The gig was awesome…we were feeling old and gnarly so that’s what we gave them….old and gnarly, and they liked it. Paris and its residents, rock….a totally gnarly day.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 at 5:35 am and is filed under Tour Diary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
I totally fell in love with Margo’s voice 2 years ago thanks to my little record shop in Paris.
Since then and everyday, I’ve got Cowboy Junkies in my head.
Last night gig was fantastic, just as I hope it would have be.
That was my first time, and certainly not the last one.
Will wait with great anticipation your next time in France…
Thanks a lot for being you,
The yeast makes those beers so special from what Ive read. Very jealous of that tour stop. All my favorite beers reside in Belgium….
Dear Cowboy Junkies
I wish you all the best for your european tour. And since you’re not visiting Switzerland, I decided to take the plane and fly from Switzerland to Barcelona to see and hear you at the Apolo. Again, after some 20 years or so for the second time… remember that concert in Lausanne at Théâtre de Vidy, with Lika Bloom as supporting act? I even met him after a concert here in Winterthur and he remembered that night too. I’m thinking about wearing that old shirt again, with your pictures on it, the one in “trinity session”-design :-)
So, again, all the best and I’m happy to see you on sunday.
yours sincerly, Thom
I claim to be no conniseur of beer, just enjoy different tastes it offers. Certain beers are brewed to have spicy tastes in them with spice added to some. Weiss beers come to mind as do wit beers. Belgium is the beer capital of the world I believe so enjoy! Hope this sheds a faint light. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to next chicago area show.
Loved your comments on the belgian gig.
We absolutely loved every minute of it, and we can assure you the rest of the audience did too. You are right, we seem reserved, but don`t be fooled : there was a lot of love and admiration in the room ! Do come over again soon, we recommend Antwerp next time :-)
Keep enjoying the belgian beer, it is worth it. By the way, it`s probably the blend of different types of hopps which gave you the specific taste impression. Love to take you all on a connaisseur tour some day…
Keep up the good work, we love it !
See you soon.
Michel and Nikki Colen
Dear Cowboy Junkies ,
Being a local , I was at the concert in Bruges monday evening with my 19 yrs old son . It was indeed an intimate concert , both of us were moved by the music and words . It is indeed a very formal setting , but nevertheless this concert was one of the most impressive we’ve seen in 2011 ( A few weeks ago we went to Antwerp for a concert of Bob Dylan and Mark Knofler , but yours was better ) . I was a fan since many years , now my son is a CJ lover too . Thanks again for the wonderfull evening ; when do you come back to Bruges ? We’re looking forward to it !
All the best
Mike – you may find the following website useful
My guess on the beer question is Coriander seed as a spice. It’s usually present in the blonde type Belgian ales and lagers, and usually the reason I don’t much enjoy those brews. I would actually like to try some actual Belgian beer sometime though instead of the American beers brewed in that style that I have tried.
I aaaaaalmost took a week off to come catch this little Europe leg but couldn’t put it together, so thanks for keeping the tour diary going. At least I can be a vicarious virtual tourist. See you next year somewhere in North America.
Great to hear ,that things are basically working fine. As for the belgium beer : The most common spice in white beers is coriander ,but I do not know,if this is the one ,you noticed !!!! I wish you all much fun for the rest of the tour !!
Couldn’t leave the page without commenting and thanking you for a great gig!
Although half my roots are in Woodstock, Ont., I’ve lived my whole life in Europe, so despaired of ever getting to see you live, despite being a fan since The Trinity Session.
And I’m sorry the “man from Berlin” wasn’t in the audience, but you playing 200 More Miles made my evening complete!
Sorry Paris didn’t give you a better welcome! We’ll try to do better next time. Please come back!
The parisian show was really beautiful … This old club was a nice place for your music. I lied to my boss and travelled 500 miles to be there (you never come to Lyon !) but i’dont regret it anyway.
I have to thank the guy for Germany that requested 200 MILES two days earlier. He didn’t show up but I enjoyed listening this particular one… Thank you also for the choice of songs among the nomad Series and the covers from Old Neil or the Stones…In fact, it was just perfect.
You seemed to be tired when you started the gig, but you really gave us beautiful feelings, sensations and emotions…
Before this show the last gig i attended was in Brussel. Hope I won’t have to wait 5 or 6 years till your next gig … I already miss you…
Thank you for everything, and keep being yourself
some Belgium beer varieties like Faro or Witbier contain coriander. Maybe that is what you tasted.
Best wishes for the spanish gigs and many thanks for that wonderful Hamburg show.
Michael from Hamburg
I saw you for the first time at Gorton, Manchester last year after nearly 20 years as a fan. SAdly you were not to come to UK this time, so I travelled to Bruges on my birthday (7th Nov) to see you and you did not disappoint. Although I wished you were closer to the audience too. Thank you for a superb evening.
Sorry you had a bad feeling on your day in Paris, it showed a little bit at the beginning of the gig, but it went away with your beautiful songs “see you around” et “Renmin Park”, and all the following songs were so nice. I really enjoyed “200 more miles”, thanks to the missing german guy for his request.
Margo, at the end of the gig we talked about a previous one in Paris some 20 years ago (found back the name of the theatre: Le Bataclan),you told me you were a little bit anxious, I can ensure it didn’ show. Still, I hope I won’t have to wait 20 more years to see you around again.
Keep on making us dream with your songs, and thank you once again all of you for the pleasure you gave us.
Mike thanks to you all for a great evening in Bruges. It was good to have a chat with Pete, Al and Margo after the show and thanks for the dedication for my wife, it made her trip. On the beer front after you left we had time to do the city and went to the only brewery there. Apparently they’ve been trying to get into Canada to sell their wares but have had the block put them. I know Canada has fairly strict drinking laws but you’re missing a lot. Some of the clove flavour you talk about could come from a hop especially Brewers Gold and also if wheat is added it can give a biscuity taste and aroma. In Les 3 Brasseurs in Montreal we had a very clovey beer made using this hop.
Dear Cowboy Junkies,
I also came from Lyon to see you in Paris. Yeah, the place was a dump (but the name sounded fun) but once Pricilla started played the magic of the evening started! What a wonderful opener!
I love the new version of “Hunted” and had wished to hear it but that’s ok, 200 miles was a true pleasure!
My only wish is to start the night over again!
Thank you and have a great trip! Next time we’d love to have you in Lyon.
there are some moments that are very difficult to discribir with words, and your concert yesterday was one of theme.
I traveled from Vigo to enjoy your music live and your company, I got a few minutes before the start and I can assure you has been a great experience to hear you and see you live. For almost 20 years I hear your music and has been a pleasure to be with you yesterday.
Hopefully back soon.
Thanks and best regards