Saturday, August 28: Atlanta. Hometown show at Chastain (or whatever it's called now)! It was such a wonderful experience to play for friends and family. It's safe to say that we gave this one a little bit extra. A great night.
Friday, September 3: Columbus, Indiana. We played some kind of fundraiser thing in an airport hanger. Maybe it was for the local animal shelter?...nothing's coming to mind. Anyway, Columbus is more progressive than you might think if I said "small town in southern Indiana," and many of the cool residents were in attendance, and they were digging us. This one was easy, and a good way to easy back into reality after the Atlanta show.
Saturday, September 4: Columbus. Originally, we were scheduled to play a public concert in Columbus on this night, but it felt apart because of COVID stuff, so we had the day off.
First stop: Yat's! It's decent cajun/New Orleans food, and it's a nice change from the usual rotation of Mexican/pizza/Chipotle/sub food. Yat's does participate in the shitty-instant-rice thing (as I mentioned in the previous blog post), but it's easier to overlook it in this situation where the rice isn't solo.
Also, bonus points to Yat's for having vegan food! I had the vegan white chili (which is my go-to at Yat's), and it did the job. I also had a half serving of the beans and caramelized corn thing. It was ok, but the white chili thing is much better.
This is Hank. I talked to him and his brother Mushroom outside of Yat's. I think Hank was embarrassed because Mushoom wouldn't stop barking. He's a sweetie.
After lunch, I practiced flute for a few hours (as quietly as I could), and then went for a long run (long for me). I tried to go to the Indian restaurant, but it was closed. I then tried the pizza place, but they were also closed for the night. The Mexican place was still open, so I had veggie fajitas that gave me a bellyache. I guess I should've gone with the tacos. After that, I went back to my hotel room and practiced saxophone for a couple of hours (also as quietly as possible, though I was in between the elevators and Monkeyboy, so it was fine), and then went to bed.
Sunday, September 5: Westfield, Indiana. Before we headed north to our final gig on this trip, I went for a run in the opposite direction to yesterday, and quickly found my way to corn fields and dirt roads.
We all met up at checkout and decided to try the pizza place. Food was good, service was slow. The weather was nice, though, so no big deal.
This day's show was a benefit concert in Westfield, which is a northern suburb of Indianapolis. Nice place for a gig. Pleasant weather, easy load in, good looking people to watch during the show.
Wednesday, September 8: travel day. We got home from Indianapolis on Monday afternoon, and two days later we were back in the air, making our way to Tucson, Arizona. What had originally been a direct flight turned into two, with a layover in Salt Lake City. Enough time to eat a burrito and walk around for a minute.
The lady who sat next to me on the flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake was impressed by my ability to nap on a plane. "You were so still! For hours!" Like, maybe she thought I was dead? It's a gift, lady.
We got to the hotel in Tucson a little before midnight. Check out these hip, modern rooms! And a squared off toilet!
Thursday, September 9: Tucson, Arizona. I fought it as long as I could, but finally at 9 AM I put on my shoes and headed out in the hundred degree heat. Unbelievable that anybody willingly lives here. My morning run had a lot of walking in it.
For lunch, I found an Indian place that served empanadas (say whaaaaa?). They also had a some more traditional kind fare, so I went for that.
This place seemed to attract middle aged white males (myself included). A woman entered and ordered lunch, and one of these dorky guys said to her, "I once ate Indian food for two weeks straight," and SHE FELL FOR HIS TRAP! He proceeded to tell his victim all about the two week trip to India that he and his wife took eight years ago, and the different cities they visited ("The call it the triangle"). She finally picked up her order and bolted.
This evening's event was a corporate party featuring several of the music's original artists, so after lunch we had a a few hours of rehearsal to refamiliarize ourselves with their music. First up, we played with Mickey Thomas of Starship (Fooled Around and Fell in Love, Nothing's Gonna Stop Us, We Built this City). Following Mickey was Wally Palmar of The Romantics (Talking In Your Sleep, What I Like About You). Then Peter Beckett, Voice of Player (Baby Come Back), Elliot Lurie (Brandy), and Robbie Dupree (Steal Away).
For dinner, I headed around the corner to a ramen/sushi place and had Vegan Street Noodles. I even sat I the same spot I sat in the last time we were here. Pleasantly spicy.
This gig was decent (not great), mostly because the rented gear was so beat up. One of my keyboards was messed up and wouldn't let me use a sustain pedal. The original choice for Monkeyboy's guitar amp had a bad tube in it. The basses were dirty and rusty. The drum monitor died during the show. Worst of all, a few of the wireless microphones quit working in the middle of the show, and when Zach opened them to try and change batteries and frequencies, the old batteries were held in place with chewing gum wrappers! This was the rental company's first show after shutting down for COVID, and they didn't check anything before sending it out.
Nevertheless, we played well, and the audience gave us good energy. I remembered my parts, and (most importantly) remembered to transpose my keyboard down for Nothing's Gonna Stop Us, and then remembered to change it back (a legendary mistake I made the first time we played with Mickey).
And it didn't go too late!
I woke up in my clothes at 2 AM next to a bag of chips, and Speed on the TV. Goddamnit that movie is stupid. So then I had to get up, take a shower, brush my teeth, take out my contacts, and officially go to bed for four more hours.
Friday, September 10: travel day. We left the hotel at 7 AM, and just as we were getting in line to drop our bags, our first flight (to Los Angeles) was delayed by about two hours. Finally, we got on the plane and flew to LAX, got on a bus to take us to a different terminal (because LAX is one of those airports that's forever under construction), got off the bus, walked to the gate for our flight to Atlanta, and got on that plane.
|The Queen, The Kippen, and The Pilot|
It was a long day, and a long flight (cue the shrieking toddler two rows in front of us), and because we missed our original connection, we ended up sitting in the last two rows (48 and 49) of the plane. It finally touched down in Atlanta around 9:30 PM.
Saturday, September 11: Birmingham, Alabama. There was just enough time to repack my suitcase and sleep before we got in the van and drove to Birmingham for a wedding.
This room was really cool looking, but maybe not suitable for a nine piece band. There was so much natural reverb that it was tough to hear anything clearly. Also, it got pretty dark once the sun went down! But whatever; it was pretty easy. Birmingham's got a nice vibe. They're trying to be cool.
Lots of fun in the green room (which was also the loading dock, but pipe-and-draped for a little privacy).
Sunday, September 12: home!
Outside of all this, I did squeeze in a quick recording session at the end of August. Someone I've never met (I still don't even know his or her name), texted me out of the blue. All the text said was "saxophonist?" I replied, "yes," and we said that he had something that he needed me to play on and how much would I charge. I gave him a price, he sent me an mp3, and I recorded a few passes, and texted him links to the folder I'd put them in on Dropbox. He sent me a similar thing to show me what he wanted (I don't understand why this didn't happen BEFORE I recorded the first round of solo, but...), and I sent him a couple more passes more in line with what he wanted. He liked it and sent me the payment. We never spoke. I have no idea who he is, what he did with it, what he played on it--nothing. Isn't that wild? Is this the future?
Anyway, here's a sample: