Date: Monday, October 16
Place: Off Broadway, St. Louis, Missouri
It occurs to me that I haven't spent a lot of time writing about the actual shows we played on the tour...
The truth about being a band on the road, which I've read over and over from touring bands but only now experienced for myself, is that most of your time and energy are not spent playing the shows. They're spent driving, unloading, setting up, waiting, breaking down, loading, and driving. And sleeping in hotel rooms and eating in chain restaurants.
The playing part of the tour happens for about 45 minutes a night.
And the challenge is to make sure that all the getting around, getting set up, etc., doesn't detract from the reason you're on the road: to play as good as show as you can, every night, regardless of the day, venue, or crowd.
So part of the reason I haven't been writing much about the content of the shows, is that I think we did a great job of getting up there every night and playing as passionately as we could. It was a given pretty much every night.
Were some of the shows better than others? More well attended? In nicer venues with better sound? Sure. But I think that we, as a band, came out every night and played like it was a Friday night at House of Blues in front of 1000 people.
And that felt great.
The other thing I've read from touring bands, is that once you're on the road, you tend to lose track of 1) what day it is, and 2) where you are.
And on Monday morning, as I stirred in some shithole of a hotel room in some shithole of a town... I had no idea where I was or when it was.
Slowly, I became aware of Jeff noisily snoring in the other bed. Slowly, I realized I was in a shithole of a hotel room in a shithole of a town in Indiana.
Slowly, I realized it was Monday.
Seeing that we had about 2 hours until checkout, I decided to go for a little 5 mile jog. I headed out to the road and began exploring Shithole Town, Indiana. There wasn't much exploring to do. I was through the town and onto some country roads before I turned around and headed back to the Shithole Motel.
After cleaning up, we hit the road towards St. Louis. For the first time, we hit some inclement weather, but Jeff handled the Dodge Grand Caravan with aplomb.
We stopped in Shithole Town, Illinois, and ate at Shithole Chain Restaurant (actually, a TGIF... same difference).
We hit St. Louis relatively early and headed to the venue.
As we walked into Off Broadway, we were immediately struck by the fact that it was the nicest venue we'd played yet.
In great shape, with a great sound system... just fantastic.
After chatting with the owner (great guy named Steve), we unloaded and headed down to the riverboat casinos to do a little gambling.
Taking the gambling torch from Barret, I won $40 playing video poker... and promptly spent it on beer and food. Natch.
We got back to the venue around 7:00, and immediately went across the street to a sports' bar to watch the much awaited Monday Night Football game between the Bears and the Cardinals.
We left the bar at halftime, demoralized by a 20-0 Bears' deficit, and returned to Off Broadway to show our support for the other bands on the bill. Both were quite good (especially the ska-punk opener from Baltimore), and we were further buoyed by a rash of text messages and phone calls indicating that the Bears had miraculously rallied and won the game 24-23 without scoring an offensive touchdown.
Although it was after 11:00 when we took the stage, we played well and the sound was great. And most of the people from the other bands stuck around for our whole set, which was a nice boost.
Additionally, local St. Louis legend Beatle Bob was at the show and danced to our whole set. Not kidding. Couldn't make it up.
As we packed up, Steve mentioned that we had a home at Off Broadway any time we were out touring, which warmed our hearts.
Our hearts were further warmed as we loaded into our hotel rooms just across the border in Illinois, and watched the highlights from the Bears' game on Sportscenter.
The last thing I remember seeing as I drifted off to sleep was the ump-teenth replay of Devin Hester breaking what would become the game-winning touchdown on a punt return... a great end to a successful fourth day on tour.