Week Four

Off again! This week's run was Wednesday-Saturday, starting off in Michigan.

Wednesday: Grand Rapids! Not where I thought we'd first dip our toes into the gigging...waters..of Michigan? I thought that was going to work, but maybe not. Anyway--you'd think we'd begin our midwestern expansion in Detroit, or maybe Ann Arbor, but...no. Grand Rapids it is. Second largest city in Michigan. Home to several breweries.

Awww! The Great Bencuya in his home state
Step one: lunch! And wouldn't you know it, there's an Indian place right up the street. I hit the buffet for some chana masala. 

The evening's gig was at 20 Monroe Live, a newish concert venue in town (capacity 2,600!). Big room, but really nice and clean and well run. They had some sort of private event between our early soundcheck and the gig.

After a nap (thought the pollen was bugging me, but I guess I caught a cold), I didn't really feel ready to eat dinner, so I went for a short run.

I think we were all very pleased by this Wednesday nighter! Maybe 500 people showed up, but it didn't look super empty, and they were mostly enthusiastic. And generally, the place was just really cool--nice green rooms, nice stage, PA sounded good. All that stuff. Any easy start to the week.

Somehow, I ended up quoting Santa Claus is Coming to Town in my flute solo on Lowdown. It just kind of happened--not on purpose! I played the first phrase of it without realizing what it was, and when my brain caught up, I had to play the next bit to complete it.

Thursday: We headed out in the late morning across the empty fields of rural Michigan, northern Indiana, and Ohio, bound for Cincinnati.

we're in good company
Bogart's was slammed. Not quite a sellout, but it was still packed, and the show was really good. Also good: Indian food over by the University of Cincy campus (though they use a disappointing amount of plastic and styrofoam).

Immediately following the show, I packed up my gear as quickly as possible and jumped into this van with Nick and Pete for a late night ride to Indianapolis. We were scheduled to perform as a trio on the morning news.

It was a rough ride. The weather, the roads, and the driver were fighting the entire time.

Friday: My cold was in full bloom this morning. It probably would've helped to sleep late, but we zoomed over to the TV studio for the broadcast. Strangers in a strange land.

They'd asked us to play for the weather portion and then to play again after the interview, but right before the weather, I was taken by the producer and told to basically walk into the shot and play. Uhhhhhhhh...ok! It was pretty exciting to have to play on the spur of the moment, but I think it came out ok.

After a short interview, we played Summer Breeze. I swear I'm not trying to drown out the vocals!

Then I went back to my hotel room and crashed for a couple of hours. I had a very difficult and realistic dream that I'd played Careless Whisper wrong on TV and repeated it over and over and over. Once I had peeled myself off the bed, I went out for lunch at Yat's, my favorite cajun place in Indy, then a short run on the treadmill, and then off to work!

The gig du jour was in the Egyptian Room at the Old National Centre. We've played this place before, and though the room itself doesn't have a lot of vibe, the building is pretty neat.

Lotta people here. Indy is always a really great place to play--it's just a great city in every way.

We had a horn section for this one, and they dealt with my horn charts pretty well. Someday I'll even get all the mistakes out of them!

In other news, I had a really good solo on the end of Biggest Part of Me. Everything that could go right, did. Made me want to high five myself.

Saturday: Chicago! Also, last day of the run! We're almost home! 

Things started off with a photo session. We started off with some shots on a bridge (maybe Dearborn Street?), and then worked on some stuff at the marina basically directly under the Wilco Buildings (and the House of Blues). The HoB let us take some pictures up in the "Foundation Room" as well.

Chicago, lookin' mighty fine

 Another good show and...a sellout! This was a nice ending to four pretty intense weeks.

I crawled back into Atlanta with enough time to eat and head to my church gig. I made the mistake of not warming up before I got there, and it took the entire rehearsal and soundcheck before my embouchure finally started to come together. I did find some nifty stuff to play a pseudo-Latin flavored song, which hopefully made up for some of the rough stuff I played earlier in the mass.

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