The Yorkshire Dales were gorgeous storybook waves of grass crisscrossed with ancient grey fences of a million hand laid rocks. Dwarves and orcs and wraiths were peeking out from the mossy cracks. In the countryside, I felt more in love with England than any time since my first taste in 2003. Our van zoomed with glee up and down hills, honking our horn around curvy bends. Driver Seb explained to me that the French call rollercoasters “Russian mountains.”
The band holed away in a cottage, where Greg and Cole taught me Yahtzee. We journeyed down a dark road without streetlamps and dined at a sleepy old pub with one of those classic menus full of Yorkshire pudding and mushy peas and bangers and mash. I love the idea of “mushy peas.” It seems like it would be hard to sell anything edible in the United States with the word “mushy” attached to it, but the adjective it seems to bear a different connotation across the pond.
There is a chant phenomenon at European concerts that I find hilarious and also a bit disorienting. I don’t know if it’s the influence of the football culture ‘round here, but it pops up regularly. Take, for example, this video clip from our Newcastle show. The crowd is chanting something resembling “YOU WHAT YOU WANT!” This was at least the second time in the evening that this had happened.
A similar moment when down in Cologne, Germany. Check out this video around 4:10.
The crowd breaks out into “Viva Colonia.” After the show, an audience member explained to me that Cologne is the gayest city in Germany, and we are from the United States, and San Francisco is the gayest city in the United States, so they chose to sing Viva Colonia because it’s about San Francisco. How confusingly wonderful.