“Hello, I wanted to thank you for this fantastic chance to come back and perform in your country,” I said as calmly as I could. He stood up, making the whole encounter even more intimidating- he was at least as tall as Bruno Johnson (more than two meters) and about twice as wide, with a distinct impression that each centimeter was built from strength and muscle.
Ohhhhh shit, I must have made some kind of etiquette faux pas, interrupting him in front of important friends was probably some kind of huge formal insult in the Ukraine… I waited for him to tear me apart.
-“It is I that must thank you. For the fantastic music!” I stood there stunned. “I can die now knowing that I have heard the greatest music of my life.” I almost passed out with relief. Somehow I formed the words to thank him again, clinked our beer glasses in a “Cheers!” of mutual congratulations, and then quickly walked back to my seat before I did something to screw up the moment.
A few members of the group and friends wandered around town after dinner looking for a suitable bar, but after an hour or more Mikolaj Chaska and I ended up joining Michael Zerang at the hotel bar for a nightcap before heading to bed for a two hour nap. On the trip back to Krakow we nearly got stuck at the border, customs was about to search the entire bus piece by piece, person by person, which would have taken hours and forced us to cancel the evening’s concert, but at the last minute Marek was able to get us through without hassle. That bit of tension was cancelled out by a nice exchange between Yuri Yarumchuk and Magnus Broo on the bus. Yuri, whose use of English usually needed the assistance of Mark Tokar, went to Magnus, struggling to get a package of peanuts open.
© 2021 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer