Today I sat with my 2015 diary. What a year!! We have officially done 100 shows, driven close to 30,000 kms, flown over 118,000kms, spent nearly 300 hours in the van, stayed in 70+ different beds, and played to over 20,000 people. Thats about 2000 songs I have sung live this year. We have also played in 6 different countries and also 5 different Aussie states. It’s been huge! I have played with 12 different band members during all of this. We have had SO many people look after us, welcome us into their homes, made us incredible food, shown us around their beautiful cities, clapped and cheered and purchased our cds, we have had countless arguments in the car that always end in hugs and “I love yous!”, plus thousands of laughs! We have had one tyre burst on a Germany autobahn, several trips on ferries, a couple of interesting border patrol incidents, we have roller coasted down mountain sides in the USA, played an intimate house concert for a beautiful dying man, eaten WAY to much bread and cheese, drank over a thousand cups of coffee just to myself, crashed a couple touring cars, played a couple of lovely weddings, froze ourselves on tiny boats in Switzerland, danced on random roadsides, eaten amazing food, eaten some not-so-amazing food, stayed in incredible houses and hotels, stayed in some HORRIBLE rooms as well, played a show in a small kitchen, played our biggest Euro gig to date in Germany, opened for some wonderful musos, had food poisoning in Germany when I had to go on an IV drip just before the show… the list goes on. I launched my brand new album to an awesome sold out crowd at Freo Arts Centre. My son Angus and my wife Amy joined us in Germany, Holland, Canada, Darwin, Gove, NSW, QLD and Broome. Angus has seen more in his first year of life than a lot of us do in many years. My band have been beautiful and kind and so patient with him over the weeks on end of touring. This year experienced the most amazing times as a first time mother. I have never been more exhausted and tired in my life. My wife has continually supported my career and has allowed me to keep following my dreams. My family have continued to be so incredible with their love and support and friendship. And our fans have been amazing and always make me feel so alive and so blessed. Thank you to EVERYONE who has had anything to do with us in 2015. You are why I keep doing this and why I keep trying to climb this massive mountain!! Bring on 2016!
If you have been to a show (or not) tell us your favourite memory of one of our shows, or travel moments or songs etc from 2015. We would love to hear from you! Thanks again everyone!
Part four started on Friday May 23rd in the Netherlands. We were joined by Tom. One ofour most favourite men to walk this planet. We played a show that I loved last year – the venue is a beautiful old church with great acoustics. We had a gorgeous bed and breakfast and a wonderful show. Because of the space we wereable to try out some new ideas with the audience. We began the second set up inthe upstairs bit of the church (not sure what that bit is called. Where the organ is??) We did a huge percussive jam and danced the audience and then hit the stage. It got pretty rocky and at the end of the song I did one of my big jumps and somehow my right heel came kicking up and I kicked my guitar, and it smashed. Like, totally unusable. So upset. It’s my favourite guitar – my baby. So it is time to get a new guitar once again! Loved working with Roots on the Road again – such fab people.
After the next Dutch show I became really really sick with tonsillitis. Went to the doctor with my glands looking like golf balls covered in pus. Went to the doctor and was put on penicillin for ten days. We were so lucky to be able to stay with Vera and Colin and lay in bed all day and eat soup and drink a ridiculous amount of lemon and honey. I was so sick that I had to move a show. Haven’t cancelled a show for so many years now. Felt terrible to do this. Pretty much I was flat out for about 5 days. Then I had no choice but to do 10 shows in 9 days. And it has been SO full on. Trying to recover and heal whileperforming every night and going to bed every night is kinda crazy. But we got there. The bad part is Amy then became really sick. A bad flu/cough for apregnant woman on tour is not fun at all. I was feeling so sorry for her. A few gigs I made her stay at the hotel all by herself while we went off to perform. Suddenly our brilliant idea of getting pregnant and going on tour seemed really quite stupid.
We had some great shows in Holland. On the Friday night wedid a new show – a totally new experience for me. We played at a New York stylebar – with a house band. I was asked to sing 3 songs – my own song Wont Be A Fool, and also two covers “Rather Go Blind” and Folsom Prison. The house band learns then super quick. We started setting up and other guest singers started coming in – and they were all proper ‘soul ‘ singers. And lets just say Ibecame very very nervous. They were incredible. So, I grew some balls and got up and did my thing and really enjoyed the experience, so di the audience. Wegot to meet some awesome people – we all sat around a dinner table eating and chatting – about 20 of us – mostly strangers. You really have to deal with somany new experiences and well, it keeps life very interesting.
A few more shows around Holland. Some great shows. Places we have played before and brand new venues. Old record shops in Amsterdam, places up north that fed us an incredible amount of Dutch style fish, acoustic shows in tiny cafes filledwith happy, enthusiastic people, and of course more interesting people.
We started playing with our new Dutch guitarist Daan whowent well with his first show shows. And of course Joey (Dutch) on drums aswell for a few shows.
It was Amy’s birthday on the 5th of June and thepoor thing was really very sick. While she slept at midnight I got the crowd to sing to her “Don’t Go” and we recorded it for her – they were such an awesome, silly, gorgeous crowd who were very happy to be a part ofit all. It made her feel better for a few minutes at least!
That night we played at a beautiful theatre and I got to share the stage with this amazing singer Ezekiel. He was one of those ‘soul’singers I had met in Amsterdam and he joined my on stage for a duo for my newsong “Tell My Lover” (that I wrote with Morgan Bain from Perth) and wow, this guy just blew me and the audience away with his voice. It was so hard to concentrate on my parts and I ended up stuffing up a couple of chords because Iwas too busy watching him perform next to me! It really was a special experience for both of us I think.
Next stop: Belgium for a few shows. My low point of the tour was performing in a massive store that we thought was a record shop, but in fact itwas an electronics store that sold tvs, cds, stereros etc. We had to set up inthe middle of the shop, in front of a big screen tv with videos of me playing on the screen. It was as awkward as you could get.
The Friday show was fun – our third time in this venue and it is slowly building which is always so good to see. The next day we did the usual – headed to the square, checked out the market and ate yummy food. Thistime we ate some incredible mushroom paella type of thing. Trying out the local food is one of our favourite things to do – if only we could take all the smells in a jar and bring it home with us!
We had the Sunday off in a beautiful part of Belgium called Tavigny. So Joel, Tom, Amy and I went on a little adventure in the van. We found a beautiful city called La Roche – we ate lunch in a gorgeous, typical square, had a few beers, explored the town and then decided to go kayaking down the river for 10 kms. It was such a magic day – the sun was out and we had so much fun chilling on this river, sometimes racing, sometimes swimming and getting stuck on the rocks way too many times. We even managed to find beer. It was aperfect type of day off. We don’t get this often on tour, so when it happens itreally is amazing. So good to chill out and laugh and not have to be anywhere at any particular time. And good to see donkeys. I like donkeys.
The next few nights we had off to recover and get healthy again at my family’s house in Biddinghuizen. Iam so lucky to be able to call their home my home away from home. To come home to family who are happy to see you and who ask questions about the shows and listen with enthusiasm to all my tour stories is wonderful. It really feels so comfortable to be with this part of my family and to honesty feel right at home.
TOBY is officially coming home to Perth! TOBY is super excited to be back on Aussie soil. TOBY has two very special Home Coming shows – one North and one South of the river. So we want to see you all there!!
Thursday 21st – Northshore Tavern, Whitfords
Sunday 31st – Fly Trap, Fremantle – limited tickets - www.flybynight.org
I booked us an apartment right in the middle of Berlin –with two entire days and nights off! The boys generally have to play ‘rocks,paper, scissors’ to work out who gets the best deal with rooms and beds. We don’t always get a bed or a room each!
I had told Amy to not bring over many warm things as we had experienced beautiful weather in the first two weeks. Well, Berlin was 12 degrees, and it felt freezing and the layer upon layer look wasn’t working so well. We checked out shops and cafes and the Berlin wall and a few historical areas. Totally love Berlin and loved being there again.
We got back to business on Wednesday with a great show in Cologne. We had a big bunch of women there from the L-Beach fest and we found that every night we had audience members from L-beach come to our German shows,so that is always a good sign!
We had several German shows that week – each and every one of them being new and each one being fun and with really awesome audience members. We also played at one of my favourite bars “Franks Bodega”. I was stoked to be able to bring Amy and Gav and Joel along for this special show. I had told them about Frank and his wine bar and the three very awesome and interesting shows we had already played there. Frank is kinda crazy. With a huge grin on his face, long wavy black hair, and he is passionate about his bar, wine food and live music. He also seems passionate about talking to us in German and then walking off. We often have no idea what is going on while weare there, but it all comes together. Before the show we got to try out this new electric bike that drives up to 45kms an hour, it was so incredible. We then went on to get ready in his ‘house’. You have never seen a weirder,crazier, more chaotic house in your life. While standing in the shower where all others in the house can watch you (windows…lotsa windows) it was where I realise “Shit, I really have to let all guards down while touring don’t I?” If the boys see me nude, they see me nude. If a stranger feels like sticking their face in too, well there is not much I can do about it all. We get ready in parking lots, restaurant toilets, in dark rooms with only our phone as a light on my hand held mirror… you just have to go with it. Not always that easy to do!
The gig was awesome. Really fun crowd. Great food – Frank is known for the amazing food he whips up on his camper like cooker behind the bar. Talking about bars we got up on the bar and did an acoustic song and the entire crowd lit sparklers up – it really was a magic experience. We stayed at a wonderful local’s house that night in a beautiful little town and an incredible house – but we had to be up at 7am to leave, so not time to check anything out!
Next stop was Termine – the border of Switzerland and Italy.Last year in September I did a trio show with Daryl and Jean-Guy close to Termine. It was a shocker of a day. 9 hours drive to play to 14 people. When we were shown our ‘accom’ it wasn’t quite what we had expected. Until a couple who had watched the show offered for us to follow them to their house. We chose to take the risk and I am so glad we did. Jonathon and Manuela live in a 400 year old nunnery. They have turned part of it into a bed and breakfast and it looks over Italy and sits next to a beautiful vineyard. It was a beautiful experience with them, and they invited us to do a private house concert for them this time.
We arrived and started setting up on our stage in the garden. As we were doing this, 12 caterers and chefs rocked up too to take over the kitchen and set up the bar for mojitos and amazing wine. It was a really special night and we got to socialize with some awesome people. We also got to eat AMAZING food.
The next day we hung out in the sun and headed into Italy for lunch. Sitting by the lake we realised just how lucky we are to be doing what we love and to be seeing the world and meeting some beautiful people along the way. That night we had off, so we stayed again with our new friends. Jonathon cooked the best lasagne I have ever eaten and we sat around the dinner table(which was 130 years old) with Jonathon’s children, Laura who is 17 and Nicko who is 16 and had such an experience. Nicko and Laura speak Italian to each other, but Swiss-German with their folks. And they all spoke English to us. Manuela, who is a lawyer and can fly planes, is also a wonderful pianist. Her and Gavin took turns playing to us and it was just beautiful. Did I mention the plane she drives is one that Jonathon made himself? It was a magic night. Music and wine and great company and mouth watering food. Such a good night off on tour!
The next day we ‘popped’ into Interlaken. The drive over the alps is still one of my all time favourites and I was glad to not be driving this time so I could take it all in. We had a quick one hour catch up with Sandy (mum’s cousin) then we went on to Bern. (meanwhile the boys went up the cable car to Harder Kulm for a beer). We played a private 30th birthday party that night. A cute little garden and a lovely night.
We had our last show with Gavin on the Wednesday night which was really sad for us. Gavin plays such an important role on tour – well, many roles. He keeps us sane, he keeps things calm, and he makes us laugh more than anyone you will meet. He also sings in German on stage – this hilarious little song about him not being actually able to speak German. The Germans loved it and I loved that he had the balls to do it on stage every night when I kindly requested him too.
Everyone was feeling a bit sad as this part of the tour was ending. We only had a couple more shows with Josse too. Josse is Mr Handyman. He fixes everything. Everything must also be packed perfectly and he is happy to take control of these things which makes our life a lot easier. He is a great drummer too. Josse also gives wonderful hugs and gives out a lot of love. Joel was joining us for the next part. Joel is Joel. Chilled at times, stupidly loud at times, and well, there aren’t really any words for Joel. He is a one –off and I love him.
Our last show was in a small German bar which was PACKED and it was one of our favourite shows. So happy Gav could have this as his last show! We had a beautiful drive back to Holland where we said goodbye to the guys and Amy and I were back at my home-away from home in Biddinghuizen. Holland.