Another thousand miles down the line - July 10
Show at House of Blues, Cleveland
Photo © Chris Capozza
Greenery in Milwaukee
Diesel Dawg takes the wheel
And so we entered Chicago - and All that Jazz... in the hotel lobby and corridor, on the street corner and in the local bar. Rob was in his element! Some of our team got to experience Lincoln Park and a boat ride... and what a lake - you can't see the other side. Lake Michigan really is an inland sea and its beaches are fantastic.
After the brief break potential disaster struck. The crew van broke down and there was no replacement! It looked bad - the whole gig was under threat and I proposed to just sit on the stage and play acoustic guitar. When the crew finally arrived at the venue it all seemed too late. But the guys waved their magic wand and within an hour the stage was miraculously set up! For me the star of the gig was the crew. The audience was incredible, the atmosphere exploded into life and what could have been a disaster transformed into an extraordinary evening. I met many supporters that night, from pre-teens to an eighty eight year old fan called Lee...
Our next show was at the South Milwaukee PA Center - another oasis made more beautiful by the sun. President Obama was visiting just down the road via Air Force One, which made our own access to the gig practically impossible as surrounding roads were closed. But with Brian at the helm and some helpful locals we successfully ran the gauntlet of road blocks and reached our destination.
Some of us had time for a wander amongst the local greenery and Huckleberry Finn streamery as we awaited the all important call for sound check. I must have recently mentioned my penchant for rye bread on local radio only to find I was handed a present of the delicious stuff at the gig in a swirling pattern like a cake we Brits call Swiss Roll. Thank you sir whoever you are for baking me your masterpiece! It was a very warm gig, followed by a drive towards Cleveland into the long night... Just a few hours sleep for the band, and only a couple for the crew!
I've always loved the concept of the House of Blues 'voodoo' style venues. After a lifelong love of blues finally I got to play a slow one (Still Waters) in a place which is a shrine to the genre. The show had a relaxed confident vibe in a setting where I felt we could just blend in with the walls. I wouldn't have it any other way. A great gig in a great rock 'n roll town.
Cleveland is of course home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where some of my old equipment resides as part of the museum exhibits, including a vintage fuzz box. It may have been the one that Pete Gabriel used to accidentally crash into and occasionally dismember when prancing a tad too enthusiastically towards stage right in the early seventies...
An electric atmosphere pervaded the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester. The punters went ballistic as the band went balletic. Onstage everyone sang Happy Birthday to Rob. After the show we celebrated backstage with wine, beer, cup cakes and ghoulish photos.
Although we're returning for three acoustic trio shows in a few days time, our final electric gig in the States was Albany. We performed at the Egg (Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Centre), which was a hard one to crack, as it took us half an hour to get in due to high levels of security, but the acoustics were spectacular and the theatre was magnificent. Once more the band was warmly received. We broke a few more eggs with friends backstage. Next stop Canada...
Diesel Dawg elopes with Prissi Miss Sissi
Deities, spooks and spirits in The House of Blues, Cleveland
The Egg, Performing Arts Centre, Albany