Birmingham, AL and Orlando, FL (February 10 and 11, 2009)
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If I had to list my choices of cities in which to have a day off,  I’m not sure if Birmingham would even make the list. But we don’t get to pick them, we just take them where they land, so we spent yesterday, our day off, in Birmingham. It’s hard for us northern liberals to shake all of the negative association that we have with this city, and perhaps those associations shouldn’t be shook, despite what Lynyrd Skynard says. In any case, it’s a sleepy little town, with not a whole lot to recommend it to the casual tourist.  
We had a very odd gig tonight. We played in the Symphony Hall, but it was slightly reconfigured. We played on the main stage with our backs to the hall and the audience on the stage all around us and up in the choir stalls. The hall behind us was cut off by a curtain. It was actually a pretty brilliant idea, a great way to use the hall with artists who don’t have the audience size to fill the whole thing. Sonically it worked very well, it was just like performing in a small intimate theater.
I woke up this morning in a mall in Orlando Florida. I spent the whole day there, never once glancing at the front of the theater (which backed on to the mall) or looking down any of the streets that flanked the mall, or even wandering over to the mall next door. I wandered around the parking lot and drifted into the various stores with their going-out-of-business sales and there 70% off sales and their how-the-hell-did-we-get-ourselves-into-such-a-mess sales…..the slow decline. It was a good lesson in supply side economics. Just exactly how many pairs of running shoes does one need?
We had a scant audience tonight. The only gig on this leg that hasn’t sold well. They were an extremely enthusiastic bunch, but a little swallowed up by the size of the theater.
Man, I love that Florida sunshine.