Odense, The Everlasting First
May 9 2002
Our first full-fledged tour as LOVE began May 19, 1996, so it seemed only right that, nearly 6 years to the day (we Play next week, May 16), we are beginning another tour with Arthur Lee in Odense, Denmark. We first performed with Arthur Lee June 20, 1993, at the Palomino, Club in the San Fernando valley (Los Angeles) I remember it as a very good, very fun show. I also remember the LOVE fans afterwards thanking us (it took me years to figure it out but so many people had seen Arthur in the late 80’s/early 90’s with a sub par band but still felt that he was genius enough to carry the show; ok maybe I’m biased?) And telling us we played the music with reverence. Well, I think anyone who’s ever played with Arthur, be it Das Damen, High llamas, Shack, (or any of a variety of players that have shared the stage with Arthur), the one thing that rings true is EVERYONE has complete respect and reverence for the material. Now, as a unit, a particular group may not play it as best as possible, but, all in all, Arthur wouldn’t let a crappy band play his music. Of course, he can’t control the sound in a venue or, if in fact, the players aren’t really together as a band. But that’s all in the past now. He’s got his band back and we have our singer back. And that’s all that matters.
So I started thinking back to that first show in Odense, because it wasn’t the best show, in my opinion. But it was an IMPORTANT show. Everyone in the band felt it could have been much much better and we were determined to prove that to ourselves. The beneficiaries of that discussion were the next night’s crowd in Copenhagen, who had to witness a LOVE with Arthur Lee show that played like there was no tomorrow (really! We thought gene was going to put us on the next flight home!). So, Odense, a small island off the coast of Denmark (and where Hans Christian Anderson called home), became the first show of that ’96 tour. And it all started so odd, yet funny. And anyone who read my ’96 tour diary knows what I mean…
Well, we arrived on the island the day before and had nothing to do from 5pm on. Arthur and David Fairweather stayed at the hotel and got some catch-up sleep. Gene was on route to Odense from Stockholm and David “Daddyo” Green was feeling ill and felt like getting some sleep as well. So Rusty, Chapple and myself decided to go to the club we were playing at (Rymteposen) and check things out. Turns out a really awful Metal band were playing but the crowd loved them which goes to show you how much I know, ok? Finally, 40 min. into this unbearable set, a nice fellow (his name escapes me but if he reads this, please e-mail me…WE OWE YOU ONE) comes us and invites us to a party a few blocks away. So we walked with him (this is around 10pm) to this party and proceeded to get completely out of our tree! It was a lot of fun but by 5am it was pretty obvious that Chapple had a bit too much so we carried him, each of us grabbing an arm, back to the Hotel. Now that’s the kind of Hospitality I like.
So here I am and it’s May 8 and I leave May 14 for Odense to begin yet another LOVE with Arthur Lee tour. It’s been 6 years but the shows are selling out FAST (Heck, we owe them Danish Islanders one good one. A really good one. And, if not for the people, then at least for the beer; TUBORG RULES, ok?) But the fans have always stood by this band.for over 30 years. Arthur’s fans have not given up on LOVE; Au contraire! They have rallied around the records that paint a picture of a musical landscape that defies description; words do not do justice to a record like Forever Changes or a song like The Red Telephone or the passion inside of a man who has kept in his heart images of a show that never ends- for nearly 6 years. This isn’t just hyperbole. Trust me. Some things are just between friends.