Up to Chicago

Yacht Rock had our final run of the year up to Chicago, with stops in Nashville and Columbus, IN along the way.  We had some really nice weather and good crowds at every stop!

Thursday:  first stop, Nashville.  The trip began with a quick "acoustic" show at an elementary school.  This was a freebee promo thing we did for a fan who teaches at the school.  Since we were late (no big surprise there), we forewent changing into our stage clothes and did this one in our street clothes.  Three songs, and we were done...and then the autographing began!  The large number of random pieces of paper I signed was way out of proportion to the way I played.

From there, on to the Mercy Lounge!

Back at our usual spot.  Not the greatest load in--there's a long ramp to the front door, and then either a flight of stairs or a passenger elevator--but the room has a pretty good vibe (especially compared to its larger downstairs neighbor, the Cannery Ballroom).  This was our first time using in ear monitors here, and the difference was huge, because unfortunately, this stage tends to get uncomfortably loud.  With in ears, it was just about perfect.

Great crowd, particularly for a Thursday.  370 in a room that holds 500 is just fine.  500 people in there starts to get sweaty and claustrophobic.  I remember thinking late in the first set that we were already playing like we were two or three days into a run--no rust even though we hadn't played together in almost a week.  The Mercy tends to bring a little bit of extra aggression to our performances there.  I dig it.

We probably would have sold it out if the venue hadn't used a picture of the Yacht Rock Schooner in the promo.  Nice try.

Dinner was a pulled pork sandwich from Peg Leg Porker, our newest find in Nashville.  I'm a fan.

Friday:  we got up at a reasonable hour and headed north to Columbus, Indiana for a private event--a fundraiser for the regional hospital.

The corn has been harvested, and this is what the midwest looks like right now...

...and then Peter got involved.

Easy gig!  Pete and Nick are both Columbus natives and apparently local celebrities.

The next morning I got up and went for a run.  Great weather.

Behold my room key.  For this location, perhaps it should say GET IT TOGETHER.  The rooms at this location we old, run down, and smelled terrible (a combination of dampness and chlorine from the indoor pool right outside my door and the still-lingering stench of cigarette smoke before this room became a "non smoking room").  On top of all that, a fly shared the room with me and bothered me the entire time that I was awake.

We had to check out by 1 PM, but we weren't due in Chicago until pretty late (the venue had a private event until 8 PM), so we headed to lunch.  First, however, was a stop at Walmart for supplies.

This is not a supply;  it's a picture frame.  I didn't buy it.  I hope she doesn't let him play his horn without his own mouthpiece and reed.  Totally unsanitary.

Greg Lee did a little shopping.  He was hoping to purchase a drone, but there were unfortunately none to be had.

He did not, however, come out empty handed!  His suitcase handle bit the dust, so he bought a new one.

The swap of clothes from the old bag to the new.

For whatever reason, I decided to Periscope this (for my mom and others who don't know what I'm talking about:  Periscope is an app that streams video live from my phone.  As I'm shooting video, people can sign in and watch it).

Anyway, Zach had a great time trying to destroy the suitcase.

Lunch was at Yat's (New Orleans food).  I love the original location on the north side of Indy.  This location was decent.  Points deducted because 1.  The dude behind the counter obviously did not want us to be there and was extremely reluctant to wait on us;  2.  Boiled/instant rice.  It hurts my soul.  Shame on you.

That being said, I had two orders of this, which they are saying is gumbo, though I'd never seen gumbo that was this color.  Whatever.  I wish they had regular sized spoons, too.  It would've helped mix up the "gumbo" and "rice."  As it was, all the "rice" was on the bottom.

We took a short walk around downtown Columbus.

This was a nifty indoor playground.  Cool.

 Finally, we gathered everybody at the van and headed up to Chicago.  More from Pete, this time interrupting my chance to photograph the northern Indiana wind farm.

Here's one unobstructed picture.  It's fuzzy enough that it looks like a painting.

So...we ate at the Whole Foods around the corner from the club.  One of our better food choices on this trip (I had Wendy's two days in a row).

Good gig!  We had to deal with what turned out to be a dead instrument cable in my keyboards during soundcheck, and I noticed when getting dressed that I'd left my white hat, white belt, and sunglasses in that dreadful hotel in Columbus, but the show was pretty smooth.  We played a little bit over ninety minutes, finishing with an encore of Born to Run.  The crowd was really good and energized, except for the asshole who was mad that his wife kept staring all dreamy-eyed at Pete and thus stood up against the stage with his back to us, trying in vain to win her back.  Eventually, he moved back--not a moment too soon.  Mentally, I'd already punted his head across the room seven or eight times, and I was lining up to try it for real.

photo cred:  Sagar Chowdhury
 Look!  Origami!  Nope--old set lists that fell out of the back of Monkey's guitar amp.

Sunday:  we slept for a few hours before heading to O'Hare for a really early flight home.  I was asleep before they closed the door and didn't wake up until we were on approach to Atlanta.

Pete and I waited outside for a ride back to get our cars.  Evidently some dipshit pulled up in front of the airport, ran inside, and didn't come back for a half hour or so.  The cops didn't like that very much.  I guess we were far enough away to not be in any danger.

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