Tour Diary – Annapolis, MD and Alexandria, VA (Feb 28 & 29 and March 1)

Three nights in the same bed. It’s practically unheard of on tour. We had a day off on Monday and then two nights at the Ram’s Head….which all adds up to three nights in the same bed. This is a decent little town to be stranded in if one has to be stationary for a few days. There is history, coffee, decent beer, ok food, books, ice cream all within walking distance. What more can one want on a day off.
The Ram’s Head is one of those venues that looks like it shouldn’t work, but we always have a good time and very good shows in this room. It’s small and cramped and the stage is too small and the PA is no great shakes, but the stage and room sound great, the audiences are always keen and supportive and we always have fun. I think we overplayed the room on the first night, but it was still a good night. The second night we settled in and had a very good evening. On Tuesday, Jeff, Margo, Jared and I ventured in to DC to record a Tiny Desks concert with Bob Boilen. Bob (and NPR) have been big supporters of the band over the years for which we are extremely grateful. The concert will be posted on the Tiny Desk site later this month (we’ll let you know).

Unlike the Rams Head, the Birchmere is the type of room that looks like it should be perfect for us. We love coming here: the staff is always friendly, we are cared for from the minute we arrive and our audience seems to like the room because we always sell it out. But there is something about the sound on stage that always keeps us from having one of those great shows. It’s very hard to hear the dynamics of the band on stage and so it becomes difficult to fall in to the music and let it take over. Also, the way the room is set up leaves a lot of the audience off to the side and so it’s hard to get a feel for the room. I don’t think that that we have ever sucked in this room, but I feel like we have never really hit it. Tonight was no different….I think we played well but we couldn’t find that next gear.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012 at 10:38 am and is filed under Tour Diary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Tour Diary – Annapolis, MD and Alexandria, VA (Feb 28 & 29 and March 1)”

  1. Rick Wallach Says:

    March 4th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Oh, I don’t know that you guys “overplayed” the room on Tuesday. You came out rockin’ with Sing in my Meadow, which is very quickly becoming one of my favorite performance pieces, and kept it up and rollicking right through to the Nouveau Anthem. Everything carried well, the sound was crisp and clear, and the band sounded tight. That was definitely one of the livliest Good Fridays I can recall – surprising in retrospect that a song so complex, pessimistic and contemplative works so well up-tempo like that. If you ever got careless it wasn’t noticeable, since both sets just crackled with energy and the volume was great – fitted right to the size of the room and for all of us relict hippies out there it couldn’t have been more perfect.

  2. Omar Ali Says:

    March 4th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I think the problem with the Birchmere is it’s “dinner theater” setup – from the audience’s perspective, it’s really hard to connect with the band onstage, with all of the commotion that goes on during the show (waitstaff, people walking around, geese, etc). I’ve seen you twice in this venue, and the experience does not compare to when you all have played the 9:30 club in years past. Next time, please please please consider coming back to the 9:30 club – you had some great shows at that venue. Thanks for playing my requests (One and Walking after Midnight) – I was really surprised you decided to play them (and I loved the show, Birchmere notwithstanding).

  3. Jennifer Says:

    March 5th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    The Birchmere is a strange set up, nevertheless you guys were wonderful. The sound was great from my vantage point slightly off to the side, and Ed running around was a fun sight to see…..only another parent can appreciate that!
    Usually, we see you at the Rams Head – but I got my Birchmere tickets before Rams Head was announced….I will say the Rams Head is a great venue. (it’s close and easy when you have to go to work the next day!) And, I thank you for playing the request for my husband, Leaving Normal…I love that song as much as he does!

  4. Carlos Says:

    March 5th, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Ha, I wondered who asked for “Leaving Normal”! I remember when I first got a copy of that, many years ago, I had to move earth and sky to get it… now the band plays it as a request! :)

    From my perspective in the middle of the room, the sound was great, the sightlines were super, and the whole evening was most enjoyable. Maybe it wasn’t the very best CJ show ever, but it was a darn good one. Thanks!