Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Get out of the house!
I have not come here as Marc Antony (or as the singer Marc Anthony), nor have I come to bury anyone. I have come here to praise the efforts of many people that go without notice to you or I. All the people ‘behind the scenes’, yet right in front of your eyes. For us, the touring folk, it’s our drivers and our crew that keep us moving in the right directions. I am also forever grateful to our Armed Services and our first responders that keep us safe daily, but there are more people keeping the show running for the rest of us. Like the custodians. The subway attendant. The street sweepers. The Museum docents. You get the idea. The not-as-glamorous jobs, but many times more important than most other jobs.
I mention these fine folks for several reasons. First: We often look at these jobs as ‘unskilled’ and ‘menial’. No such thing. I’ve had better conversations with washroom attendants than some CEO’s. Second: We rely on these people more than we care to admit, and need to say thank you more often. Third: I would be lost without help. These people help. A lot. Take for example the nice gentleman at the DC Metro station a couple weeks ago…
Phil was in town for some radio promotion, which means the rhythm section gets to hang out and play space invaders on the bus, or we get to lace up our touristy shoes and get a-sightseeing. We were finally able to get underway around 1 PM, which meant we had to beat feet if we were going to see anything in our Nation’s Capitol. We made it to the Metro Station OK, however, when looking over the rates and fares, we were stuck. Now, I fancy myself sort or smart-ish, and with my trusty sidekick Jeff Brown, we should be able to figure out a simple transit system, right? Wrong.
I suddenly felt like I was in another country. Red line? Blue Line? White Lines by Grandmaster Flash? We’re standing there looking over these fares and routes like it’s a Calculus problem. After standing there for a few moments scratching our heads, the gate worker came out from the booth to offer assistance. We were grateful for his help, and I remember thinking that he really didn’t have to help us out. I’ve been in come places where local workers could care less.
Once we hopped off the Metro, we were greeted with a perfect day – the afternoon sun warming our shoulders and a light breeze caressing our faces. Jeff and I got in touch with our inner botanist and toured the Botanical Gardens. I’d walked by the building a bunch, but never took the time to go inside. Amazing. I then hit up my friend John Reedy, who has friends in high places, and next thing I know, we were on a private tour of the Capitol. Being a history nut, I was right at home, and to hear some great stories from the hallowed halls of arguing was enlightening to say the least. After our walk through, John said he had a surprise for us. We then walked into Speaker Boehner’s office. I have to say, the Speaker has the best view in all of DC from his desk. It’s inspiring, really. We were then walked out to the balcony where The Pope stood during his US visit recently. Pretty humbling. Thanks JR. I owe you. And check out my EXCELLENT thumb photo below:
After a short (mile) walk to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, we saw another friend who keeps our elected officials secure. Then it was off to eat, drink, and be tourists again, where we were treated to a 10th-floor rooftop view of The Mall, in a nighttime view that no camera (at least none that I own) would do justice. Then it was a tired ride back on the Metro for the bus, where two weary travelers hit the hay with lots of great memories and 11 miles walked under our Fitbits.
The next day around noon or so, our little caravan rambled down Broadway, NYC for a load-in and show at BB King’s. How can you NOT get energized walking the streets of the Big Apple? With Times Square just a few short steps away, I had to take full advantage. And a few feet under Times Square is the Guitar Center. Great for Guitars – it needs more basses. Of course, the world needs more basses! Our show was a lot of fun that night, and, as always, it’s great to see old friends and make new ones, like Steven Maxwell, who owns one of the baddest drum shops anywhere. Much respect.
To continue on our East Coast ‘Coastline’ tour, the next morning the bus stopped in Salisbury, MA, where we played the exceptional Blue Ocean Resort. If you are ever up to this wonderful seaside area, stop in to the Blue Ocean. The room is great, the food is wonderful, and the fact that the dressing room is literally over the water at high tide is a calming change. Great nap room.
We were then off to Annapolis, MD for a 2-show stint at the Ram’s Head. I know we do lots of shows, and some of you come to quite a few of them (and for that we thank you), but these two shows took on a whole new vibe. It’s a ‘sit down’ kind of setting, and really loose, with Phil basically asking for songs to play. Just about anything can happen here – we’ve done some deep album cuts to hit after hit to outlandish cover songs. And these shows were no exception.
I love Annapolis like a favorite jacket: comforting, familiar, and there’s always the chance of finding a $5 bill or a dinner mint in the pocket. And it’s a great place to see old friends, make new ones, and walk the historical waterfront area in quiet reverence as history slowly etches itself into the cracks of the worn brick sidewalks. The town is a true American gem.
So what do you do when you’ve had a long week on the road? That’s right – you come home and drive 3 hours to see Taylor Swift! OK, I was really there to see my dear friends who play with Taylor. It was a tremendous show, and although the night was a little long, it was well worth the drive.
So there’s the update from the luckiest boy on the block. I hope you had fun reading, because I had a BLAST living it. More to come, I promise. Bigger, faster, stronger. Again, thanks to everyone who made this a tremendous week. I leave you with a parting shot of Henry, checking the sports scores out, sporting his handmade beanie. Thank you Heather for keeping his head warm!
See you on the road!