Monday, June 24, 2019


Two almost local gigs for Yacht Rock this weekend.

Friday: We played an amphitheater show in Lagrange, Georgia, which was down I-85 to just north of Columbus--so it took me about an hour and forty minutes. The parking/load in spot was on a one way road (with a nearby road closure to complicate things), and I managed to spend twenty-five minutes doing laps around the place trying to find my way to the one way road (I finally just drove the wrong way down the road, and I suspect that I wasn't the only one). When I finally made it, maaaaaan I was pissed.

Also, it was pretty damn hot, and being in the shade was great, but still really hot.

Nice venue, though the local crew was kind of redneck-y and not very helpful or interested in us.

Pretty good gig overall. It stayed hot, but it wasn't really miserable (I wonder if the 9 PM start time was an attempt to beat the heat?); the crowd was older and white and mostly stayed in their seats, except for a some wild people off to the side. The lighting guy was pretty on it.

We left there just before midnight, which means I got home around 1:40 AM.

Saturday: We played a fundraiser in a barn in Bogart, GA, and we all rode in the van (which is good because we drove ourselves last year and all got lost and I had a meltdown about not being to find it).

The stage was flanked by these two nifty cars which we were instructed not to touch.

That's the hammock of a crew guy on the left side of this picture. It's occupied. That's kind of weird.

This year, I was not nearly as enamored by the fluorescent signs. Pretty neat, but I would've traded two of them in for a big fan or some air conditioning. The gig got a bit stuffy.

Other things...nothing comes to mind--it was a  run-of-the-mill corporate event. The local crew (the count was five ponytails on six dudes!, and at least four had to step out occasionally and vape) was once again pretty weird and not really interested in the evening.

At the end of the night, some dude right in front of Monkeyboy tore his shirt off in some sort of fratboy/Flashdance kind of moment, and the idea spread through the crowd to several other bros, and at one point a big dude who looked like security came out and started maybe yelling at one of the shirtless bros and then he took his shirt off too and got on the other guy's back. I didn't know what to make of all that. I kind of hope that the ponytail crew guys were confused and their last two brain cells committed suicide.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Long Run

Every time we play a gig in Houston, all I can think of is the line from the Eagles' The Long Run that goes, "All the debutants in Houston couldn't hold a candle to you." It has no bearing on anything we're doing, but that line always ends up stuck in my head. Frickin' love the Eagles (until Don Henley and Glenn Frey went insane).


Thursday: Got up and flew to Houston. 

And the approach was a little bumpy! Here's Mark Dannells in full grip.

We arrived in the city a few hours before we could even load in, so I killed time with a run around the town.

Refueling with the House of Blues chips and salsa. I was hungry, but this salsa was terrible--kind of a spicy tomato soup. What the hell?

On with the show. We had a really solid first night in Texas, and the crowd was really great for a Thursday.

The Houses of Blues continue with the same stuff...a good sounding stage and enough green room space, but the venue is dirty and the staff is burned out.

Friday: On to Austin. The Scoot Inn is an interesting place. It's a gravel lot with a corner stage--felt kind of like the Mallow Run gigs we've played in Indiana, where the stage is a little small and there's no backstage and it's hot and buggy and the people are kind of right on top of you.

Post soundcheck, we dispersed to find food, and I found some Indian cuisine just a few blocks away.

This hit the spot.

Not much of a backstage. Several of us ended up changing outside the back of the green room because there just wasn't enough room. This must be the big time.

The green room--small, but also small.

Anyway, nice night! We sold this sucker out, and even though it was cramped and dusty, the crowd was good (and good looking), and it turned into a good gig.

After the show, I came back to change and found that this beer tub had either leaked or sweated a big puddle of water, most of which had been soaked up by garment bag. Great! All of my stage clothes (except for what I was wearing at the moment of this picture) were soaked. Thank you backstage!

Saturday: Here we go for the hard part. We were up at 6 AM to fly to Aspen (through Salt Lake City).  Planes and planes and coffee and bananas and sleeping sitting up. Goddamnit.

Landed in Aspen on a beautiful day.

Greg and I ate lunch at some weirdo Thai place near our hotel. Check out the bench in the restaurant--wonder what kind of wood that is?

I was pretty awake (in spite of my lack of sleep), so I left Greg in the room and went for a run/hike.

This evening's gig was a private thing for a food and wine festival in Aspen, and our part of it was at the Belly Up.

More weirdness. On this small stage we had the four largest, heaviest versions of the keyboards we use, plus a drum riser. I think some of the equipment was rented, and some of it was house gear. That top keyboard is 65 pounds. I spent the whole night wondering if it would hop off the top tier of that keyboard stand and land in my lap.

I had dinner at a really mediocre Thai place (it was that or Mexican food) and then got a forty-five minute nap in before the 10 PM start.

Everybody was at this show was super cool and really happy to host us. However, we did this one for the check, and also for the exposure to others who might write us checks in the future. It was tough. The gear, the fatigue, and the altitude made for a long night.

And when the show ended at midnight, we had to run like hell back to the hotel because we had a 5 AM lobby call.

Also, when we unloaded back at the hotel, a fox walked up behind us. Hello nature!

Sunday: Back to Texas. We flew Aspen to Salt Lake City to Dallas. The flight attendant announced that we were going to try and get the door shut so that we could take off when the airport opened at 7 AM, and I was like, "but we've been at the airport since 5:30?" I wonder if that meant that no planes could disturb the peace before 7 AM or something, because clearly there was TSA and coffee before that time.

I was hurting. Super tired.

Staggered through SLC airport.

I was sound asleep (haaaaaard) for this leg of travel, but I guess we were on a really new Airbus that had this cool new 3D  "flight tracker." Really cool looking.

Standing around at DFW.

After a quick coffee stop, we headed into Dallas for this evening's gig at the House of Blues.

Aaaaand just before load in, the skies opened up! Big downpour, and hey, the ceiling directly over the stage is leaking really badly, right where all of my gear would be spending the evening.

The best solution we had was to kick the drum riser off center and move me closer to the middle.

Garbage cans were set out to collect the drips. "This one is empty!" he said (among other things).

It looked like we were going to wash away, but the rain let up, and I found time to sneak out for a short run around the neighborhood.

More House of Blues problems (other than the room leak)...our food order went in around 6 PM, and they repeatedly told us it was on the way, and it finally showed up at 7:55 (five minutes before we were scheduled to play), and most of it was cold. Thanks. They tried to make up for it by bringing boxes of mushroom tacos (which were pretty good, even at room temperature), but jeez.

This gig was tough. Right when we were walking on stage I thought, "I actually feel pretty normal, considering the lack of sleep. I'm going to be fine." Six songs in, I was like "I'm brain dead. Do not resuscitate." When I walked out front to play Baker Street as the first encore, I realized that I'd forgotten to turn my sax mic on. That was dumb. Also, I forgot to put my in ears back in. Earth to Dave!

OK crowd--not quite 500. I guess if you look at the weather and the fact that it's a Sunday night, that's a win, but it just feels like we still haven't found a good place to play here. This place sounds good, but the staff is a drag.

Monday: DFW->ATL.

I was actually awake for this flight, so I watched the new Aretha Franklin documentary Amazing Grace. Incredible! It's so good, it's almost unwatchable. I think I cried through the whole thing.