I guess it’s only fitting that my last show blog is posted twelve hours late. Last show of this run anyway. Today was our venture into outdoor stages in Minnesota. Basically Canada, eh?
I was up around 845, and as soon as I stepped outside I could tell it’d be a burner of a day. The outside of the bus reeked of pee (the tanks were leaking) and it was already warmer than it’d been for us in a long time. The high for the day was around 100, and the humidity was nothing short of very very high.
We were playing at Treasure Island Resort and Casino, on Native American territory technically, in Welch, Minnesota, on an outdoor stage just to the side of the hotel. It was still a 20 minute walk around the stage and down a trail to get to the hotel, SO they had a shuttle taking us back and forth all day whenever we wanted. The shuttle driver was a very nice but very quiet Native American woman- older, she appeared tired. I took a class last Fall called “North American Indians in Public Life” all about the treatment of Native peoples by Europeans and Americans in the last five hundred years. Terrifying stuff but it really gave me a new, more informed, perspective.
Catering today was decent- I won’t give it more than three stars but it did the job and frankly that’s all that truly matters to me in retrospect (I can eat the way I wanna eat for the rest of my life). For dinner though I had to ask for the vegetarian option- they didn’t even have it out.
A running theme I’ve been hearing from people has been the unprofessionally of our bus driver. In my opinion he’s an extremely friendly guy, but he gets up in the bands’ business and asks for autographs and free merch- which isn’t the role that a lot of the crew see the bus driver as allowed to hold. (I’m being candid because I’ll never see him again, but he tried to play a song for the Fogerty family on his guitar when they stayed on the bus a few nights ago. The entire crew regarded that as simply not ok.)
Trying to get all the negative things out of the way first so I can end happy…. After I headed to my hotel room the first time I wrote a lot, exercised (felt amazing)- soundcheck was scheduled for 3. When we arrived via shuttle Mike said he wouldn’t be ready for us for half an hour. If I had one recommendation to make it would be that those developments need to be communicated to the rest of the band in a timely way so we don’t waste our time sitting in the bus (with none of our belongings) waiting to be ready. Luckily, everything’s air conditioned! Humans have a need to complain.
Last negative thing- after soundcheck I received a text saying the bus driver was leaving… we had all left our horns on the bus preshow (he told us he’d leave after the show). After a lot of back and forth with different people, we worked out that he wasn’t leaving until after the show- but I had already shuttled over to the busses again. It was prime heat now- 530 PM or so. We had to drive around the back of the hotel in the swamp/dirt because the traffic up front was too heavy. Fascinating place! Really pretty and flat scenery. We were on the bus until showtime, and I left my bag, shoes, and computer on the bus while we played. Halfway through the show our bus driver walks up to me to ask if all the stuff was mine and that he was about to take off! Embarrassing for me indeed. Very lucky he didn’t leave.
OK I won’t focus on the negatives anymore this has been depressing for me to write.
I got a decent amount of work done in my hotel room- trying to choogle out (yes that’s a verb I’m gonna use forever now thanks to Fogerty and fam) three songs for Chilltonix’s Mint Gig. (BTW Felix and Nathan are gonna come to that so YAY). Trying to balance out my eating again- lots of veggies all day, I took cashews from the bus home with me but wanting to keep it to two handfuls a day.
By the time we started our show it had cooled down a lot! Little breeze, it got pretty windy throughout the day. Crowd was medium-sized. Good friend of mine, Mikey Lasusa, and his dad, were gonna come to the show but he got the date of the show wrong so he missed it… too bad! The show started real late- originally set for 7, then moved to 730, then we didn’t start till 750! No issues though, it was just cooler for us. Show went great… I was feeling really happy the whole time. After the show we were getting ready to leave back to the hotel and change when the Fogerty’s private shuttle pulled over and the whole family invited us over for handshakes, hugs, and general good vibes all around. That was a really wonderful moment- made it all feel worthwhile!
Went back up the room to shower and change, then met Steven and Nathan at production where we hung out, said lots of goodbyes, grabbed our after show food (got some nasty oily Pad Thai that I didn’t really eat). I’ll miss Gina and Bob!! I’ll even miss Nate Wlazelek (drum tech).
Pedro, the stage manager for ZZ Top, got us in the front line of the meet/greet with the band that they do every night- we took pics and were off- that was awesome.
We walked back up to Nathan’s room to relax and watch some mindless TV for an hour or so, and I had only a little trouble going to sleep but I had worked hard enough.
Last day was a nice one. Yes, it was hot. Yes, there was enough animosity today to last a lifetime, but we made it. I’m surrounded by professional who have been doing their job for years and have set ways in their minds on the ways things should be done, but because of my age my mind is far more open. I can see that yes this is just another job, but that also means it’s just like any other job! How do CEOs, bank tellers, teachers, engineers, and accountants find joy and satisfaction in their days? The same ways that we all can in the touring business. We all miscommunicate, we all squabble, we all get tired of being pressed for time and then waiting around. That means we can all use the same strategies of being more truthful, more open, more respectful, and more mindful. I’ve learned plenty about touring, but also that 95% of the time the most effective strategy in dealing with others is to stay quiet, and NOT say the thing that’s on your mind. Being around Steven taught me the value in observing before judging, and how doing the other way around leads to misperceptions and negativity. Being around Nathan taught me how to foster and develop personal relationships with others that go beyond small talk and force one’s own personality to come out. Dave Whiston taught me that you can be your dorky self and others will either hate it or love it, and that shouldn’t mess with your happiness. Felix Brenner taught me to relax, take care of your body, and promote yourself. Pedro Sison taught me how to be proactive in my lifestyle, how to let loose onstage, and be less intellectual about the way I solo when the music doesn’t demand it. Ryan Matthias taught me how to relax (I get that from a lot of people), a lot of ins about the movie composing business, and that you can end up doing amazing things simply by circumstance if you’re open to new things. I could go on and on, frankly I guess this is to say I’ve learned a lot, in subtle ways that I won’t always know.
Tonight I’ll post one more time to talk about Saturday (6-30)!