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Last Night at the Stadtgarten

Stadtgarten, Köln. Kyle Crane, a drummer I once worked with, is on tour with Neko Case and kindly got us comps for tonight’s concert. We walk up the stairs and I give the ticket taker my name. He barely glances at his list. “That’s downstairs,” he says. Okay. Back down and around the corner to the cellar entrance.

There’s a line. We shuffle forward. I give ticket taker number two my name. He goes through his list. Shrug. "Sorry." I explain myself: the comps, Kyle, Neko Case... “Oh, that’s upstairs. This is the jazz concert.” “Funny,” I say, “The guy upstairs told us to come here.” A woman in line cheerfully interrupts. “You should stay! This will be better. It’s Martin Sasse!

Back upstairs. When we get to the front of the line (there's a line, now), I explain, more emphatically: the tour manager definitely arranged comps for us; Kyle confirmed; et cetera. “What’s the name?” “Jaster. J-A-S-T-E-R. Yah-ster in Deutsch.” He finds my name; we get our hands stamped; and we’re in. And it was a great concert.

Next morning my wife and I are walking around the Belgian quarter and it hits me. The guy at the Stadtgarten sent us downstairs because he just heard “Jazz” when I told him my name. “Two comps for JAZZ -[stopped listening] -ter.”

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