Today was a very trippy day in Davenport, Iowa. About an hour after we parked behind the gig we noticed the street in front of us beginning to fill up with cop cars and fire trucks and EMT units. We followed the gaze of all the first responders and there, about 100 feet away, sitting on the ledge of a parking garage with nothing but pavement below was a young man with no shoes: just sitting there, casually, as if he was simply reveling in the beautiful spring weather, enjoying the view of the Mississippi. He sat there for a couple hours, just like that and we sat in our bus and passed the time. Every now and then someone would come back to the bus and say, “is he still there?” and someone else would twist around and look out the window and say, “yup”. But then he started to move around a little bit and get a bit agitated and the uniforms in the street started to get edgy, stretchers were prepared, gloves were put on, yellow tape was strung. He slowly squirmed his way closer to the edge and then he put his whole lower torso over the side and dangle like that for a few seconds. And then he got back on the ledge and turned around so that his back was facing the drop and he started to lean further and further back into open space. And then it all seemed so inevitable and I had to stop watching. But then, just like that, he stopped and got off the ledge and went away with the police…..leaving his shoes on the pavement below.
And then things got really weird….the gig was in The Red Stone Room, a small performance space housed in a beautifully renovated old department store that is the hub of The River Music Experience: a fantastic non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing music and music education to this area. It’s a great idea and a beautiful building but the actual performance space (the Red Stone Room) seems almost like an afterthought. It’s an awkward space tucked away in the corner of the top floor with a tiny little dressing room located three floors down in the basement among the fruit fly infested beer bottle empties, with lots of your classic rock’n’roll dressing room graffiti on the walls (cocks, bums and boobs) and, for good measure, a little bit of sewage from the clean-out pipe, dry and splattered in the corner. Set ups like this don’t exactly scream “respect”. Which is odd considering this whole operation is all about elevating music (and one would assume musicians) to a more respected and important place in the communities consciousness. At any rate, Margo dissed the dressing rooms from stage, which pissed off the club manager, who took it out on Jared which almost lead to blows….the upshot of it all is that we have been banned from the Redstone Room forever. My advice to those in charge….clean your fucking dressing room, or even better, move it to out of the skanky basement and at least pretend that you give a shit about where the band has to change and hang out…it’s the little things that can really make a show work. We had an ok show…considering….
We had a day off yesterday here in Davenport. This town was once a major player in this region, sitting strategically on the Mississippi. It’s a classic mid-west town with enormous five lane streets running through it; some beautiful 19th century buildings; a lot of empty retail space; a scattering of local entrepreneurs trying to make something happen; but mainly lots and lots of empty sidewalks with plenty of room to stretch out and do nothing. It was a relaxing day in a beautiful downtown hotel (the Blackhawk) with not a lot of distractions except, of course, hockey. We also did a gig at the daytrotter.com studios across the river in Rock Island Ill, which was a lot of fun and will be posted on their site soon.
This entry was posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012 at 12:11 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.
Should have continued west two more hours to Des Moines….
Yes, Des Moines would have respected you! Iowa City, too, is full of people who would have been thrilled to hear you perform!
And may I add, while Omaha and Minneapolis are both close by, perhaps you would consider Sioux Falls, S.D. for a performance someday?
Didn’t know you were coming to Iowa! And yes, you should have come to Des Moines!
Despite the disrespect from the venue, I want you to know you were appreciated. We were in the 2nd row and were in constant awe of your talents. Margot – for not feeling well, you gave it your best and we would not have known except for your own admission. AND, Jeff Bird is one completely amazing musician. I don’t think the creators of the mandolin ever imagined it being played by you! You are all extremely talented and it was well worth the 2 hour drive from Illinois to see you perform live. Thank You! ps – finishing with a Neil Young cover — icing on the cake!
This is shaping up as an odd tour. Maybe it turns poetic in a Jack Kerouac style.
I’m watching from Kansas City, lost in it’s own Midwestern Bermuda triangle – surrounded by St. Louis, Omaha and Salina(???). It was about 4 years ago I headed to Lawrence (following the yellow brick highway to reach my end of paths taken) for the most recent appearance. Appears that was just a warm up for the road trip tomorrow.
So “Salina in the headlights, snake eyes on the floor” will be the theme. Not sure if it’s the band’s first trip, but it’s mine. Looking forward to it and hope Margo is finally getting better.
From the first row it was glorious, thanks for coming. Margo was having to cough a lot, but she still sang like an angel. Poor baby, I was almost hoping she would take a break once in a while. I was so glad she went on about the dressing room. I hate that cruddy treatment of cultural heroes and it all sounded deserved to me. So next time I’ll have to drive more than a couple of hours to make the gig, big deal; anywhere in Eastern Iowa or Western or Central Illinois is fair game.
Al (I discovered it is Al, Pete and Mike to you guys) was kind enough to sign a set list for me. His unchanging countenance on stage became animated one to one. I used to play an instrument just like his; I know he is a terrific musician and I told him as much. I left some music from Europe with your crew; if it is too far off the mark, just give it to a music professor in some town. The lady may be the world’s best singer but she can be on the bleeding edge of vocal experimentation. Her musicians are among the best. GREAT first Junkies gig to catch for me. Sorry there was so much drama behind the stage.
I hope you don’t judge Davenport by your recent experience. I thought the show was amazing and hope you will return to the area. Next time, cross the river and play at RIBCO. I know the people in charge there and I’m sure you’ll get the respect you deserve.
Can’t wait until they make a stop and play in Des Moines. Have seen them twice here in DSM and they are an amazing live band and unbelievable musicians
I was at the Davenport show, waited six weeks to see you guys for what was my 8th or 9th time. Have loved your work for 20+ years. Am so embarrassed and disappointed in the treatment you and your crew received at the hands of the Redstone Room. I was last there about 4 years ago to hear Alejandro Escoveda (sp?) and chewed up the manager on my way out because all of the drunks in the room were allowed to drown out the music. I was told essentially “too bad, it’s a bar” to which I replied, “then stop calling it a music venue”. I too was told I need not bother returning and I didn’t until I saw the Junkies were to be there. Nothing could keep me from one of your shows only 5 minutes from my house. I took my friend as a surprise for her birthday/graduation from college and she was thrilled. She did not figure out who we were there to see until Michael came part-way down the main staircase and we had to point him toward the elevator. The look on her face was priceless! She kept asking me if you guys were staying at my house since it was so close :). I would have had to clean it for there to be a space for you! Unfortunately she got a call 10 minutes before showtime that there was an emergency at home and so she had to leave. All turned out ok, but she missed the whole show and I PROMISED her that I would take her again the next time you play the redstone room. I know it was not a good experience for you and Margo was right to complain, but I am devestated that I will not get to hear you in my own backyard again. Unless you consider Bettendorf’s new riverfront convention center?? I think that would be a great space for you guys and I do hope in my heart of hearts that you will return. I was able to call another friend at the last second and she made it in to the show in the middle of the first number and she loved the performance, as did I. The newer stuff is lovely and the older stuff–well that’s what I grew up on so it is part of my very soul. Thanks, Margo for going on although you clearly did not feel well. Your voice was as lovely as ever and all of you sounded, despite the Redstone’s efforts to the contrary, fabulous. I’ve heard you play in Des Moines, Madison, Minneapolis, etc, but this was the first time here in Dport…hopefully not the last time in Dport! Btw, my twin sister lives in Little Rock and requests a show down there if you can. Best wishes!
Didn’t love the venue when the band played there in 2010. Noise from other parts of the club filtered into the Junkies show and it was a huge distraction.
Thrilled to have you right here in the Quad Cities! Enjoyed the set list for the evening. Including the river trilogy was great! I was also thrilled to see autographed copies of the new box set for sale at the table. I’m glad I waited. Each disc stands on it’s own but I’m having trouble picking favorites. It’s like a kid at Christmas that keeps bouncing around playing with one thing after another. So thanks for sharing the past 18months with us, and not keeping it stashed away for “some day”. Two more thoughts, or three really…Margo, thanks for fighting through a tough week of illness, the voice was marvelous to my ears. Second, I enjoyed the boys putting in some wicked time “getting it out of their system” as Margo put it. And finally, please stop here again some day, you are most certainly welcome to play in my backyard if nothing else. And the restroom walls are clean :).
P.S. looking forward to hearing the Daytrotter session
I’m from the Quad Cities & have travelled all over to see you. It was a special treat to have you play “in my backyard”. That’s why it is so disappointing to hear about your experience at The Redstone Room. There is no excuse for treating guest in such a way. I enjoyed the show & appreciate you making the Quad Cities a stop on your tour. I hope you will consider coming back. I plan to let the venue know that because of this incident they have lost my business.
Waaaahhhh…..I didn’t like my dressing room. Poor little rock star. :(