More or less a tough time today for everyone. I’ll start from the beginning. When I got up at 930 we were still an hour out from Clearwater, Florida… meditated out in the front lounge, only a few people were awake, then did some yoga with Gina, the production manager. To pass the rest of the time I had some green tea, heard from Mike D. how we’re running close to two hours behind our scheduled time to arrive at the theatre to set up. Did some reading in my bunk to keep my metabolism low, and when we FINALLY arrived close to noon, everyone frantically got out of the bus to get to work and setting up. First order of business was to find food- Nathan and I asked around… everyone, even Gina, was really too preoccupied to be of much help. Not an issue— food was baked beans, pasta, and salad (for my vegetarian self at least). Not terrible, but not sure if I’d call that catering service myself. Weather overall was not as terrible as everyone was hyping it up to be.. ocean breezes kept it feeling below 80, and though the sun was beating down hard we could be in the shade and be comfortable most of the day. We were right on the beach, but it was more of a dock/pier- lots of boats, view of another city (Tampa?) from across the way was nice. Dark clouds but no rain. The only bathroom in the vicinity, however, was a grungy, weed-smelling hovel behind the stage- that was really not fun. After meal #1 I had to go for a little walk around the park- it’s really pretty regardless of the trouble it gave us throughout the day! As the day progressed we again spent the bulk of our time in the bus- LUCKILY air conditioned so I feel bad complaining, especially when the crew was out there all day. I practiced, worked on a song, did some other random odds and ends, and did a video call with members of my band Cerulean (we’re on instagram @cerulean_music).. ohh also played some cards with Nathan and Steven. All of a sudden, just as I was about to practice a little more, we get a text saying that John is onstage- thirty minutes before sound check is supposed to start. Unsure of how to react we rush onstage to find that he had just gotten there a little earl, but the band was all there and playing. Got hooked up and played- it’s pretty darn bright outside. There were some mic problems for the horns- got em fixed, but I could already tell that people were starting to get a little bit short. For New Orleans tonight we had a staircase to go down that with a massive unsteady step- PLUS it would be almost dark… luckily that was all good. Soundcheck wasn’t too much longer than 45 or so minutes, so we went back to the bus. I’m noticing myself get more and more comfortable with idle time… I don’t know how to react to that- typically I get stressed out with nothing to do, but this tour has seemed to give me so much empty space that I’m perfectly comfortable now getting back to the bus and just…well… sitting. I’m sure it’s helping me in the long run!! Live the moment.. that’s how you truly have a new experience (that’s what I’m telling myself at least).
We did the dinner thing (they had tofu and tortellini), I power napped (I’m sure you’re proud of me) and we got dressed for show number seven. By now the sun was starting to set, so nothing was beating down on us during performance. We were the opener tonight, and ZZ Top was the closer. I didn’t take my phone with me for the show, an experiment in detaching from that little black mirror and getting a little further into my surroundings. Ironically I say that while I’m typing on a computer instead of chilling with the crew in the front.
I think the show got off to a great start- the park with the sun over it full of people looked seriously awesome- and I was in awe of getting to stand up there. We stood around in the back in between playing. Last night during Psycho (the song with John’s son Tyler), we added some kicks to sync up with the drums, BUT tonight we cut it because it was horrendously underrehearsed last night hehe. Today that song went great! New Orleans was also fine…. the crowd didn’t get in our way too much, in fact they ate it up! (In case you’re just reading this, we have a bit where we play ‘When the Saints’ through the crowd in a chorus line). I think the issues started during Rock ’n Roll Girls, and Nathan is the only one who plays on that. From what I’ve gathered, one musician in the band came in early and the rest of the band followed them.. except John.. so Nathan came in for his solo before John was ready for it.. and when John got angry it was unclear who he was yelling at, but it was tough for everyone. Each person wants to do their best work, but ultimately we can’t all be spot-on every time. Plus, John is a funny guy and, from what I’ve gathered, he likes to mess with people.
After the show we were quickly corralled to the production office to raid dressing rooms (today I managed to get some oranges!!)…. I kept thinking about how I just wanted to practice, and that it was a little odd that we had to do all this extra work after our performance, since we are members of the band. BUT everyone’s workin their butts off and we signed up for it and it REALLY isn’t that bad.. in FACT, it’s kinda cool to branch out and do new work with new people. We waited around for almost an hour before a runner went to get food, have the kitchen split everything up for two busses, and we were able to carry a dozen plus trays to the bus on a cart… we had the help of a stagehand who, in all honesty, was about as smart as a rock. Regardless, the food is here, we are safe, and the crew is getting going with loading. When they were here to eat a little bit ago, they were ALL ranting about how terrible the show was…. “this show was a one out of ten”… “this was one of the worst shows of my life”.. etc…. I think there were clearly things on all ends that made it less than perfect, but I kinda kept quiet. If one person has a mildly negative view of the day and they hear other peoples’ negative experiences, it catalyzes the whole thing and everyone thinks their own experiences are worse.
So no practicing today really…. But tomorrow I hope to make up for it and just get to it early. OH also I went to see what t-shirts they’re selling, so that I could get one for some friends (Shannon and Obbe, if you’re reading… new shirts are coming in a couple days and they’re SICK and they’ll be half off if I wait till the end of the tour).
That’s all I can think of to say- it’s relatively early still so I’m sure I’ll be up a little while longer. I successfully got this all done early! Woot! Nighty night from Clearwater.