A little internet research just now and I can tell the tale: That my grandfather had decided he would take me to Europe after my high school graduation on or around the 15th of June 1983.
While Europe is pretty amazing even if you limit yourself to the parts your grandparents might dig, for the most part the excursion was exactly the whitebread sightseeing kind of trip you'd expect when you're with your grandparents. But on a couple nights they handed me some dough and let me run around the town we were in on my very own. And I of course did the things an 18-year old kid would: those having to do with drugs and rock 'n' roll. When we were in Amsterdam, for example, I hit the world famous Milky Way and bought and then consumed some Afghani black hash, the cottonmouth then averted with a bunch of skunky Dutch beer. And in Luxembourg, on the 20th, I went to see Winwood at the Théâtre Municipale.
It's a long time ago now, but I still do remember a long and excellent version of the same song I heard this evening while driving home. It's funny: Because I remembered "Night Train" so clearly, I'd long thought that this tour Winwood had done, and this show I had seen, was in support of Arc of a Diver, but I'm realizing only now that in fact the tour was behind Talking Back to the Night.
I really don't remember much of the concert, but I've found it interesting to find that this guy here says that the show was in his "top ten gigs of all time." Not going there, but I definitely remember, and always have remembered, the experience as being one of an ace rock 'n' roll show.
Found the image next door on eBay, and looking at the back of the T-shirt now, I see that the gig I attended in Luxembourg is not even listed. Winwood had been in Brussels on the 19th and was in Saarbrucken on the 21st; I guess they decided to turn the day off into a payday sometime after the tour was booked and the merch was manufactured. I seem to recall coming across a small handbill for the event--rather than a grandiose poster--during the day while I was touring with my grandparents, which would reinforce this idea I'm getting that the show was scheduled and promoted last-minute.
Another, and probably the most vivid, thing I remember about this concert is that, arriving early, I hooked up and started chatting with a pair of Luxembourgians who were sitting next to me. I babbled something about Yes no doubt, and they recommended in return Barclay James Harvest. I mentioned Kansas, and they had no clue at all. Then the house lights went down and the three of us enjoyed the show as you do. The band was energetic, and the crowd was enthusiastic, and an encore got played, and Winwood said good night, and the house lights went up and the drummer threw something into the audience landed a few rows behind us, I figured it was a rag or whatever and I bid my newly met friends good night, told them well met and they said: hold on.
They said yeah, let's sit here and talk a bit more while the crowd files out, and I said sure, why not, time's not precious I'm on vacation. And we talked some more rock and roll, can't remember what but I'm sure it was pleasant enough, until the theatre was basically empty, one of the guys climbed backward over his seat and then crawled over a couple more until he found what he was looking for.
Climbing back towards us, he explained in a lowered voice that in European countries with harsh drug laws, and Luxembourg was that, it was fairly common for musicians passing through to toss their fans a bone so to speak in the form of little drug packets tossed into the audience.
I'd never heard of such a thing before, and I've never heard of such a thing since. but Luxembourger prog-rock brother sure enough had some dope in his hand when he arrived back in our row.
So I hung with my buddies a little longer. With no small aura of paranoia, we left the theatre and found a thousand-year old bridge or something nearby that gave us some cover from the long arm of the Duchy's law while we smoked the pot and let the buzz spreads it wanton fingers through us.
Then the moment was gone, and my Central European buddies and I parted for good, and I wandered stoned and more than just a little paranoid through the dark stone streets of Luxembourg for a short time, trying to and eventually succeeding in finding my hotel.
Good memories brought on by a good song.
Steve Winwood - Night Train.mp3
128 kbps mp3, up for six weeks (or more) (right click and save as target)
File under: Multi-instrumentalist Rock