Tour Diary – Norfolk and Charlottesville, VA (March 2 and 3)

We’ve been coming to Norfolk for years now and we have watched this city grow from being an ugly little wart on the face of the enormous naval base that houses the Atlantic Fleet, to being a very sharp little burgh with lots to recommend it as a tourist destination. A lot of US Naval history emanates from this port, it is also a very short ride to the Jamestown Settlement, the Yorktown battle site, numerous civil war sites and only a few miles from some very nice beaches and a beautifully maintained wetland preserve. They have also poured tons of money into developing the downtown and waterfront area. It’s not a bad place to base yourself if you want to explore this part of the country. When we first started coming here we used to play a club called The Boathouse. It was a rotting old club set on the derelict waterfront….a real dive. I think locals have fond memories of the place because it played host to a lot of acts as they were coming up the ranks, but it was not a pleasant stop on our itinerary. In the early nineties we did a very fun and successful tour with John Prine. We played at the small arena downtown and one of the crew got held up at gunpoint just outside the stage door. Our next stop in this town was a downtown club (I think it was called The NorVa). It was a huge step up from The Boathouse but it was a cold, box-like building and not a lot of fun to play. Our new home in Norfolk is Attucks Theater, a very nice old theater on the edge of downtown, with lots of history and character. We’re slowly moving up the ladder. It was a really nice size audience tonight and very enthusiastic. We weren’t all that pleased with our show. The eighth show in nine nights kind of caught up to us and were a little unfocused and sloppy. Bring on the Red Bull…time to dig in.

It was a spectacularly beautiful day: a little chilly, but full of sunshine. There was a very nice energy on The Mall in Charlottesville. Many cities have tried the downtown pedestrian Mall as an attempt at bringing up a neglected part of the city, but few have succeeded. The downtown Mall in Charlottesville seems to have worked. There’s a nice combination of retail, restaurants, at least three music venues and an old independent movie theater. It’s an inviting and friendly place with lots of reasons to visit. We hung out all day and spent a bit of money on breakfast crepes and crappy birthday toys for Margo’s son Ed who has been out with us for the past few days…. today was his birthday. I gave him a supreme wedgie for his birthday. He didn’t appreciate it, but I think it’s the only present that he got today that he will remember ten years from now. I figure that since he doesn’t have any brothers he needs his uncles to supply the necessary childhood rites-of-passage, like wedgies. We had another sold out show tonight. This was our first time at The Jefferson Theater and it was a very good experience: very friendly and helpful stage hands and backstage help. I don’t know how we played tonight, but we had fun and it sounded like the audience had fun…and that’s about as good as it gets. We love this town.


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This entry was posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 9:17 pm 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.

8 Responses to “Tour Diary – Norfolk and Charlottesville, VA (March 2 and 3)”

  1. Joe Says:

    March 5th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I’m glad Norfolk has cleaned itself up a bit for you. At least you missed the excitement in Richmond with the SWAT team cracking down on the people who trying to peacefully protest on the capital steps. I look forward to seeing you guys the next time you’re in Seattle!

  2. Gene Says:

    March 6th, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Next time you’re in Virginia, please come back to the Lyric in Blacksburg!

  3. Rick Wallach Says:

    March 6th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    A max-wedgie for Ed’s birthday? I think Mike’s been living on the dark side a day or so too long….

  4. Dan Says:

    March 6th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    We thought your date in Norfolk was great, especially enjoyed hearing the Nomad material. And thanks, Margo, for coming out to the lobby after the show. I’m sure you would much rather have relaxed for a little while. The Junkies are the best.

  5. Scott Bakran Says:

    March 6th, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve been waiting for your blog on the Norfolk tour stop and am glad to see that we are making a better impression. The Attucks Theater is a beautiful venue and your show was my first there.

    As a visual artist, I read your self assessment on the Norfolk show with interest. The artist is really the only one who knows what it is supposed to look/sound like. You may not have been pleased with the show but I sure was and so was everyone else in the room.

    The only critique I would offer is that I sat in the rear of orchestra center and thought the PA might not have been precisely dialed in. To my ear, the band sounded further away than the physical distance to the stage. It wasn’t a sound level thing but more a sound “presence” thing. Maybe I just wasn’t in the sweet spot in the room. And maybe it’s an unfair assessment having lived with “The Trinity Session” and “Early 21st Century Blues” getting heavy rotation through my Bose earbuds for the past several years since I “discovered” you on XM’s now defunct X Country channel. Thank you, Jessi Scott!

  6. Doug Says:

    March 8th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Thanks to Cowboy Junkies for visiting us in Norfolk. Yes, I was there at at least one Boathouse and some others at various bars and of course the NORVA. I enjoyed the Autucks Theatre for a few shows now and it is perfect for bands like the Cowboy Junkies to show us their craft. Thanks for stopping in to see us and hopefully will will continue to polish our wart of a city until it shines, however, part of the mystique of Norfolk is its darker side.

    Enjoyed your music for many years!


  7. Mike Says:

    March 12th, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Thank you Cowboy Junkies for a wonderful show in The Jefferson Theater. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the band in a while and it was a first for my wife. I was pleased to once again hear the wonderful music and lyrics(both new and old)that had made me a fan, and my wife was truly amazed by a performance that left her wondering what had taken her so long to see a show.

  8. Valarie Angle Says:

    March 17th, 2012 at 8:50 am

    My FSU college roomie and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing you live for the 3rd time in less than 20 years: 1st in Tallahassee, 2nd in Orlando, 3rd Charlottesville. Time has changed our locations, but not our admiration for Margo’s luciously soulfull voice, Michael’s thoughful lyrics, and the entire ensamble’s amazing collaboration and delivery. We loved listening to the new stuff and especially the old, familiar tunes and the atmosphere at the Jefferson was great. Lifelong fans for sure!