Day three in Mannheim and I managed to sing and play for the third night in a row. That was pretty crazy for a town that on my first day I considered would be a dismal failure. The breakthrough last night came in the form of an Irish pub called Fitzgerald’s, where every Saturday night they have a fabulously busy karaoke. The bartenders are Germans who speak English like Irishmen and women, the stage area is large and the sound system excellent. The place was full of rowdy spectators from around the world, and I just loved the party atmosphere.
I never do karaokes as part of this musical adventure, but last year in Cologne I had been told that if I brought my guitar and asked to sing at the karaoke there, they would let me. I did not do it there. But thinking about that and wanting to play again last night, I decided to show up at Fitzgerald’s and ask if it was possible to sing a song or two with my guitar during the karaoke.
The waitress introduced me to the DJ, and he looked skeptical, but accepted. I showed up shortly after 10 PM and at around midnight, the DJ came over and said, “We haven’t forgotten about you. Why not fill out a couple of request papers and mark, ‘Acoustic version.'” So I did that.
At around 12:30 AM they called me up. The crowd was hot, bubbling, bubbly, big and ready for a break after two and a half hours of karaoke. So I plugged my guitar into the sound system, set up the mic and laid into Father and Son and everyone immediately sang along with me. The DJ asked if they wanted more of me and they all cheered. So I did my “Irish song” for the Irish pub, the Van Morrison “Crazy Love.” They enjoyed it too, but there was less singing along as it is less well known. The DJ asked if they wanted still more and they cheered again. So I slipped into “Just Like a Woman” and they sang along again, and even danced. In fact, one woman got up and sang along with me, partly behind me, and that was a pleasure.
There was a crowd of young women that came in with balloons and sparklers and I think it was the one who sang with me who sang a song as they all lit up the sparklers. Talk about a party. For me, one of the best of the karaoke singers was the guy who did the Chris Isaak song below…. Of course, it sounded better live than in my recording.
What really pleased me was being able to survive, and even thrive with my acoustic guitar alone in the party atmosphere of a karaoke. But as I said, I think the spectators needed a change of gears. After me it was back to the karaoke madness….