Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When you sleep

Rain or Shine

Those have been the two most consistently telling words of my week. After three outdoor shows in a row, and about another eight along the way, I have grown to fear nature and all of it's turbulent, violent ways. Harsh words for a tour that's less than a week old. It was only few days ago that I left the warm cradle of paid vacation, and hopped a flight up to Portland, Oregon.

After braving the Memorial day airport traffic and a delayed flight I met up with the band and crew at an airport Radisson. I climbed on the bus and headed up to Bend for the first show. It was not unpleasant to reacquaint myself with a tour bus this time around. There's usually a period of a week or so wherein I try to warm up to the idea of living on a bus, and instead lie awake all night and then can't find my shoes in the morning. We actually have a pair of brand new buses that are pretty swank. They are black as night, and all of the windows have been replaced with plasma TVs. The shower is nicer than the one in my apartment.

The fridge was a bit understocked though.

I nested into a bottom bunk on the driver's side, started watching the Ken Burns baseball documentary and got approximately eleven seconds in before I was completely unconscious. So far I have learned that baseball is America's pastime, and something, something. That is all.

Just in case you were wondering we are rock incarnate. This was partially a joke (well, mostly) but also a means of telling the two identical buses apart. Just the other day some guy knocked on he door hoping to actually find Slayer inside. I can't even describe the look of disappointment on his face when we explained it to him.

And then Bend welcomed us with open arms.

And dark, foreboding skies that quickly turned to rain.

But I suppose if you build it, and charge forty bucks to look at it, they will come.


Yeah, we've got those.

The following day we traveled up to The Gorge in Washington. I'd been there a few times before, and always experienced some sort of weather-related disaster. In fact the first Death Cab show that I did was here, about 2 years ago. The weather was so bad that half of the gear was destroyed the day before. Last year the winds reached 60 mph and the show had to be stopped for a few hours while Ally and I clung to guitars and keyboards hoping all they while that a strong gust didn't send it all sailing into the river below. It is, in spite of it's challenges, one of the most amazing places that I've ever done a show. This is the view from the window of the bus when I woke up in the morning.

It was an amazing day, and I had very little to do other than sit back and take it all in.

Until it started to rain.

I hid indoors for a few hours until the rain let up. 

By the time the band went on the sun had just started to set just behind the stage. It was a pretty incredible thing to see.

Afterwards I stuck around for a bit of The Cure's marathon 3-hour set. They played all of the hits, and all of the eight minute-long misery dirges that one comes to expect from those mopey little freaks.

We drove overnight to some bizarre place called Thanksgiving Point in Utah. There was a turkey farm on site, and I'm pretty sure that I had one of those little bastards in my sandwich for lunch. Again, foreboding skies ahead.

It poured almost all day long, and broke, only occasionally to dump hail onto us as we were working.

But it let up just in time for the show.

A few of us stole a golf cart when it was all over, and tore up the venue's grass (sorry) and then almost flipped it over in a volleyball court. We made a break for Colorado just as we had worn out our welcome. I was restless for most of the drive, and couldn't sleep, so I stared out the window as the sun rose and then I crawled into my bunk and watched Old Joy. There really is something eternally calming about Will Oldham's big, cherubic head.

I am confining myself to this odd little Inn that looks like The Queen's powder room for the rest of the day. I have a couple shows to get off the ground before I can go eat some delicious sushi down the street. Tomorrow is Red Rocks. We are going to show U2 how it's done.