A blue passport book is quickly flipped through. A well-groomed, perfectly courteous Dane scans the photo and with dangerous efficiency, stamps the last page and hands it back to the owner in one continuous motion. The bleary-eyed traveler takes his passport back, picks up his guitar case and steps into Denmark. His first words upon entering this foreign country, “Dude you can totally see that girl’s butt.” Ladies and germs, the Night Birds have arrived in Europe.
What does one take on an international tour? If you are a true blue punk rocker, then surely you bring your leather jacket. And Night Birds are true blue; they’ve got two of them. And it’s summer. Other travel essentials include toilet paper, a head lamp (courtesy of the author), swim trunks, duty-free smokes, and as much merch as your carry-on can muster. After some wrangling and organization, the aggregate of their possessions, both nonsensical and practical, is stuffed in five checks, five carry-ons and a handful of small backpacks. What sets them apart from other journeymen? The snare drum as a carry-on is a dead giveaway.
“Hey Night Bird, can I help you?” the airport agent in Copenhagen offers. Groggy and a little confused, I ask him questions about our delayed flight, our missed connection, and how much our courtesy food vouchers are good for. “I listened to their music. It is too rough for me. Too crazy.” I’m too tired for a witty rejoinder. The strong Danish coffee makes me shake all over, but I could still fall asleep on the spot.
Delays? Check. Missed connection? Check. Lost bags? Check. Airline staff seemingly not knowing what the fuck they are talking about? Fuckin’ a. Eventually all obstacles are surmounted, not to mention a way too easy customs check. It was as challenging as walking through a pair o’ double doors. Finally, after 16 transit hours, we stepped outside. “I am Amsterdam.” Michl, Taken By Surprise impresario and fearless leader of this tour, pulls up way too promptly and we load in. Everything’s coming up Milhouse suddenly. The plan: sleep, eat, get jiggy with it. See you tonight at Winston Kingdom. Time for this fuckin’ tour to start.