Thursday, June 05, 2008


Sweet Missouri

It's been pretty flat out this last week, and my head has all been swimming with work. It's been good, and in a one sense productive, but I always feel like I lose a bit of myself in the Midwest. After a solid string of outdoor shows without the comforts of air conditioning, a solid roof and a steady Internet connection I realize how easy it is to lose track of other people, or even myself. It's been alright though. About a week back we did a show at Red Rocks, not far from Boulder. I have always wanted to do a show there. If nothing else, those rocks sure were red.

It was actually a pretty amazing place. It's an epic looking amphitheatre nestled amongst a pair of 300-foot sandstone outcroppings in the foothills of the Rocky's.

The weather held out for the most part, and the show was really good. I opted to leave our backdrop on the truck and light up the rocks behind the you do. It was really one of those places, like the California Greek theatres where it's difficult to put on a bad show when the elements are on your side.

There was a damn s'more station in catering as well, which was just fine with me, and after I filled myself with marshmallows and melty chocolate I waddled out for the show. Shortly thereafter I poured about half a pint of old grandad's Bourbon on top of that sugary mess and called it a night.

I woke up the next day in Kansas City. It was a bit of a wash out being downtown. After 5 pm everything pretty much shut down. That and the crippling economic depression that most of the country seems to be in the grips of made it a recuperating in the bathtub-type day.

We managed to score a bunch of tickets to The Royals game that night though. It was a blast, even though they got spanked by the Twins. A group of us sat just in front of a pretty vocal Royals fan who was there with his kids. The team was doing a hack job on the infield and he was trying his hardest not to swear with mixed results. It was a flurry of: 'shoot, gosh darn it,' followed by a 'son of a bitch bastard.' He cheered up a bit when he picked the animated hot dog with relish to win the staged race against the ones with ketchup and mustard.

The next show was another fiasco involving a failing radio station, a stage on a truck on a city street and some unpleasant weather. Yeah, that's a giant banner that says 'buzz under the stars' flanked by two 30 foot-high Miller Light banners for a band that doesn't drink. Solid.

There were an extra 2 bands added to the bill at some point. There was so much gear on stage it looked like a either a garage sale or things were 75% off at guitar center. We dealt with it though. I suppose it's all about your attitude. It helps if you are from the south and can relate to Larry the Cable Guy as well.

The next show, stop me if you've heard this before, was a fiasco involving a failing radio station, a stage on a truck on a city street and some really, really unpleasant weather. It started off nice enough, though you could see from a mile off how easily it could come speeding downhill. I overheard our tour manager berating someone for setting up a barbecue barrel on the street. He was plainly asking if it was a good idea to install a flaming, open topped barbecue pit in the middle of a crowd of 3,000 people. He got the same vacant response when he question their motives for inflating a bouncy castle and dropping leather sofas on the sidewalks. I'm not kidding.

The weather turned pretty quickly, and it was what most people would call a torrential downpour within ten minutes.

We quickly through tarps over anything and everything of value having been through this on a daily basis for the last week or so.

The stage leaved like a sieve however. All total we lost a lighting desk, a monitor console, 3 PA subs, and about six moving lights. I'm no expert, but I would say this little bs street fair cost us around 200 grand.

We finally hobbled to Minneapolis for a day off. I took quite possibly the best, and most well earned shower of my life. There were shower heads everywhere, and hot water that burned the cold, dampness of the week right out of me. Unfortunately, looking at this picture now, it is suddenly clear to me where my shaving cream has gone.

A few of us wandered out to the cool part of town which, rather unfortunately, is named Dinkeytown. We went to this great pasta bar that happened to be hosting some sort of tango lessons that night. It was a really interesting middle-aged swingers crowd. Someone remarked that it was like having dinner in a Terry Gilliam film.

I have to say that I really have enjoyed large parts of middle America on this one. The steadily improving weather helps. I haven't been in Minnesota and not been miserably cold, at least not that I can recall. Sunshine really changes my perspective on life sometimes. We cabbed back to the hotel and crossed over the Mississippi just at the site where the bridge collapsed last year. It seems that it's been 12 months, maybe 24, maybe 36 of lots of disaster and unfortunate circumstance. So much that after a few months go by you forget all about what happened where.

With that in mind, God Bless America, and Pizza. Mostly pizza.