Since having posted last it's been a pretty tiring and stressful 28 hours! I feel good, if only a little bit lethargic from 7 hours of sleep, but overall I'm pretty good shape.
WHERE did I leave off? Oh yeahhh ok our flight to Philly was delayed so that we didn't leave until 115, right before takeoff we met lots of the other guys on crew. Got on the plane- all got window seats toward the back of the plane. I was lookin to relax and get started with work when this old woman sat down next to me and started talking. She was wanting to be very friendly and talkative and I was happy to do so with her. But, over the course of the five hours, I learned about everything there was to learn about the woman- even things I really didn't want to learn. She's 82, but looks closer to 62 (she even told me a story of how she started dating a man twenty years younger than her who thought she was). She's very active in church- been a minister her whole life, and sees it as her life's purpose to convey the meaning of God to others. She has a big family below her, including 13 great-grandchildren, and 3 children in their 60s themselves. At one point she teared up and told me she wished I was her grandson... such a sweet lady. Her grandpa was a bootlegger during prohibition and her parents were both born in the Oklahoma territory and came to California during the 30s like Grapes of Wrath. She said she'd pray for my mom to take some time for herself for once (at my urging hehe). Did get a lot of random busy work done on the flight, was happy to get off the plane albeit hungry. We walked over to baggage claim and they switched the carousel three times that the bags would come out of. I was hanging in there, I wasn't angry or ravenous or anything- kept it all together. Had a real great chat with the guitar tech about Star Wars that was pretty funny. He actually liked Episodes 2 and 3 more than 1. Anywayyyyy, waiting for the bags I took out this MIDI keyboard that I took with me- I borrowed it from my bass player friend Rani who received it from Russ Ferrante- piano teacher at our school. Basically you plug it into a computer through an app like GarageBand and use your computer as speakers. This way I can write and arrange things while on the road real easy. Soon enough the bags got here and we got on the bus to Atlantic City- it was close to midnight local time. Listened to some Yellowjackets, read about this thing that Wynton Marsalis said about rap music- that it's worse for black society than statues of Robert E. Lee. Not gonna comment. Arrived at the hotel around 1- it feels exactly like Las Vegas. Creeps me out, but people spend so much money here.. which is ultimately working in my favor. They had a buffet waiting for us- decent food, not spectacular, in the employee dining area. Sat with Nathan and Steven- we finally got to talk a little bit about everything. The relationship I’ve had with them has always been strictly work-related… I show up, play my part, and leave onto the next thing.
Hopefully over the course of this trip we can bond a lot more, and I think things are already looking pretty positive. I went to sleep pretty soon afterward, right around 330 local time.
Morning I was up at 1030! Got to see the view outside which is neat- you can see the beach clearly. Interesting mix of old townhouses and casino skyscrapers in this town. I was pretty hungry but I went downstairs and exercised anyway- there’s a free “pump room” which is a pretty good-sized fitness center that I used for around 45 minutes. Afterward I was quite famished, but showered before meeting Nathan and Steven down there to head off to food. We were supposed to eat at this place for free, and eventually did but it took us forever to find it! It’s a cafe for employees, and it’s decent- not great vegetarian options- I’m trying to keep my compete protein in mind.
We grabbed our horns and met at the Events Center around 145, which is attached to the hotel- so we didn’t even have to go outside whatsoever. They were all still setting up the stage and lights- it’s this 2500 person ballroom! Waited around in our dressing room that we took over for a bit- writing our blog and warming up. We ran some of the charts- I know I’ll have to get them memorized shortly but that won’t be too difficult honestly. I’m a little concerned about my chops holding up- one of the tunes is a serious lip killer- especially for me since I’m not typically a lead player. At 330 they were finally ready for us, so we got our mics hooked up and sat around till the main act was ready.
The music isn’t too difficult aside from the range. There’s a part of the set where we walk through the audience while playing- honestly very excited for that one if I can remember how to march and play simultaneously. When the rest of the band was leaving (7 or so), the horns, drums, bass, and keys stayed to rehearse that little audience feature a bunch more times. Mental toughness is the name of the game for me today- if I crack then I’ll have it much harder. Just focusing on food, sleep, and exercise above all else. We finally got dinner at 9 and this noodle place, and now as I finish the blog I’m trying to get tea before I play cards with Nathan and Steven (no I refuse to gamble!!!).
First day WAS tiring, BUT I learned the importance of eating a big meal in the morning AND drinking a lot of water. I know all these things, but every once in a while they’re reinforced. A walk outside might also do me some good. Ok hopefully I’m not out too late now… tomorrow’s a day off for us! Check back in soon as the adventure shall CONTINUE.