After a long drive from Holland to France during the night I arrived in Strasbourg on Friday around 08:00 am. I checked in at my hotel and decided to have a look around in town after a wash and some breakie. It was very warm outside already and it came to be 32 degrees C that day (89 F). Thank God for air conditioned rooms :).
The center of Strasbourg was covered in posters announcing the Cranes gig at La Laiterie, which was a good thing. People had actually thought of announcing them. I decided to have a look at the venue and was surprised when I got there. Judging from the outside I couldn't have guessed that any band could or would ever play there :). I've never seen a club that has so many entrances before either.
After a couple of hours of being stared at in town (must have been my blue hair) I had a couple of drinks, some food and went back to the hotel to get ready for the evening. I arrived early at La Laiterie and sat down in the shade. There were some people there waiting by the Cranes bus already but no one had the energy to wait very long I guess, it was boiling hot.
After a while Mark and Manu came out. Mark went back in for a Sonic shower and Manu decided that it was better to be outside than inside so we spent some time talking and taking funny pictures. Fortunately he had thought of taking a bottle of water outside with him. After some time (I guess it was around 08:00) club doors were opened. It was a hassle to get my camera inside and was happy that Paul and Simon helped me with that one, as my French is crap. It was surprising to see how small the venue actually was from the inside. I think that there actually was a bigger stage though. The place was packed with people.
Cranes hoped that they'd be able to go onstage around 9:30, they wanted to enjoy some time backstage before they had to go off to catch a six 'o clock ferry in the morning. Unfortunately they went on around 10:30. So we sat down and had a couple of drinks again. Manu fetched an excellent bottle of red wine that was finished before both Mark and Manu went off to open a bottle of champagne with Silkscreen. When Manu reappeared after a while - I was trying to figure out why the room was spinning :) - we agreed that the Bordeaux wine had done a good job. We only saw the last song of the Silkscreen set. It would have been dangerous to go into that heat for a long time, especially after a couple of good drinks, so I really can't say anything about their performance. The last song was good though. And very loud. When Silkscreen reached the end of their set Manu jumped onstage and started drumming as well. The surprised look on the Silkscreen drummer's face was hilarious.
Before the Cranes hit the stage an Eardrum tape was played, which was excellent and lots better than the mushy songs that someone had decided to play before they came on. The show was great. Everyone had a good time although it was difficult to even move in that heat. Simon and Paul did a great job handing bottles of water over to the people standing up front. One of my friends passed out, which was a bit scary, but she was ok again soon enough. Manu told the audience to drink plenty of water, because someone had passed out and more people were turning quite pale.
Cranes played their somewhat usual set for this tour and played Lilies and Starblood (thanks!) as well. Alison thanked everyone for being there and for supporting the band on this tour. Mark tried to kill his guitar, smashing the thing into a wall, while Manu was being shaving-creamed on his head by a Silkscreen member.
My friend brought her 8 year old daughter Kim with us to France to see the Cranes. Before the gig some band members decided that it would be a fun idea for the last gig of the tour to get her on stage to sing Lilies with Alison, or to announce that she was the new Cranes singer. She did an excellent Alison-like 'Goodbye I'll miss you' backstage though :).
After the gig people were almost killing each other to get hold of a setlist. I was very happy to be able to get away from that mayhem and go backstage. Unfortunately all the beer had disappeared, so Simon went out to find us some new bottles. Although everyone was quite tired we all had a good time talking, hitting each other over the head with empty bottles, taking silly photos and stuff. Getting some kebabs to eat was a hot topic as well, but no one really bothered to actually get up :). After having looked for their backdrop for quite some time Silkscreen left for an 8 hour drive back to Amsterdam, Holland.
A couple of drinks later Cranes had to get on their bus as well, to try and reach their ferry. It was time to say goodbye to everyone, which was quite strange and not too nice after such a good time. As I'd sort of expected they didn't get to the ferry till morning, as it took the bus about 6 hours to get there. But they enjoyed a well deserved rest before they had to get on the ferry back to Dover.
Ali, Jim, Mark, Manu and Paul, thanks again for a great time! I really enjoyed the shows, will stay in touch and hope to see you all again soon.