Archive for the ‘Tour Diary’ Category

Tour Diary – Ridgefield, CT; Brownsville, ME; Great Barrington, MA (March 6 – 8, 2014)

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

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We have had three days of clear blue skies. The temperature hasn't risen all that much, but the sun feels a smidge warmer, I have spotted an occasional dripping icicle and the other day I came upon a bunch of robins pecking and bob-bob-bobbing along…so change is in the air. Spring can not be far behind (at least that is what we keep telling ourselves). If we had put our marketing caps on before we began this leg, we would have printed up a bunch of “F@%K, I Hate The Cold” t-shirts for this run of dates. It has been the unofficial anthem and we have opened every show with it….it's our way of helping to chase away those winter blues.

Along with enjoying the sun we have also been enjoying the towns we've been in for the past few days. Ridgefield is one of those Connecticut postcard towns, with sprawling 18th century homes and a pedigree that stretches back to before the Revolutionary War. It's about as archetypical New England as these places come. Our venue in this town is the Ridgefield Playhouse, which we have played a few times over the past ten years or so. Its a good sounding little theater with a nice sized stage and a good crew. We did a Trinity show tonight. I thought we were a little sleepy, not quite clicking on all cylinders, maybe it was a hangover from three days in NYC.

We spent Friday at one of our favourite places: the Stone Mountain Art Center. This is a beautiful little venue nestled in the Maine woods just across the border from North Conway, NH. It is owned and run by Carol Noonan an ex-touring musician, who knows what its like to be on the road. She understands that providing the most basic things, like decent food and a comfortable clean backstage area, can make all the difference in a bands day and therefore in their mood and ultimately in their performance. Carol and her staff take that extra step to make every band that comes through her venue feel special. We had a great day and an excellent show in front of an excited full house.

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Today we are in Great Barrington, MA. A very vibrant little town, nestled in the Berkshires…and today it definitely feels like Spring…I think we may have broken Winter's back. It's also the last day of the tour. We played here for the first time about four years ago and have been excited about getting back here ever since. Another very nice theatre and another excellent crowd, we gave them the last few drops of energy that we have left. It was a very good show, our tenth in eleven days.

We have a light touring schedule ahead of us for the coming year. It's time to pull back a bit and see where the post Nomad phase takes us. We'll be doing a short run in Southern California in June and then a few scattered dates throughout Ontario in the summer. We hope to see you out there, but if not, please keep in touch through the website or Facebook….pray for Spring…we'll see you soon.

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Tour Diary – February 26 to March 1, 2014

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

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Ithaca (NY), Bethlehem (PA), South Orange (NJ) and Blackwood (NJ) Feb 26 – March 1, 2014

We had hoped that by simply slipping beneath the border we would find a hint of Spring. No such luck. There has been no respite from the cold over these past four days. It actually seems that much rawer down here and the fact that the heating in the bus can't seem to keep up with the cold outside, doesn't help. There is no escaping it. My neck and shoulders are in constant constriction, stressed, and as the body works overtime to keeps itself warm, all that I want to do is crawl back into my bunk and sleep. The crappy food and the four or five hours of sleep per night doesn't help matters. The joys of touring in February…ideally we would be making a run along the Gulf Coast at this time of year, but no such luck, its too far away and we've been watching True Detective on the bus and are a little bit scared to venture down there. To make things worse, most of these gigs seem to be in the middle of acres of windswept fields and industrial parks, held captive by the ice and snow. The audiences seem to be feeling it as well. The attendance has been a little sparse at a few of these shows. Everyone seems to be sheltering-in-place, waiting for a robin or two to appear, praying for a crocus to break through the frozen ground, before daring to stick their own necks out of their hidey-holes. I can't blame them. I sort of feel like I should be doing the same.

In Ithaca we played a strange community theater set in the middle of a State/City park, on the outskirts of the city, on the banks of one of the Finger Lakes. In the Spring or Summer this would have been an ideal location to spend a day. This time of year it is a little Gulag-ish, the wind coming off the lake made it unbearable to even go for a walk. It was a very nice sounding little room, the type that we would normally sell-out without too much trouble, but not tonight. But the audience was keen and we had a good show.

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In Bethlehem we played The Musik Cafe, a nice, if a bit sterile, venue. It still needs a few years of seasoning. The venue is part of the revitalization of the old Bethlehem Steel Mill site. The old mill remains and looms as a backdrop to the stage through the floor to ceiling glass windows that make up the back wall. The mill is an amazing site. It could be argued that these monstrous ovens, shoots and blast furnaces were the heart that pumped the life blood through the American Century. The steel that came out of these mills is what helped to build America throughout the late 19th and early 20th century. Now they look like the remnants of a long forgotten empire, almost post-apocalyptic…all it needs is for Charleton Heston to coming riding along on his horse….the gig tonight was ok, but a bit formal. The room and stage feel a little distant from each other and the presence of a very large TV crew shooting the performance didn't help with the intimacy. It was a hard one.

Day 3 was in South Orange: a small, tidy little New Jersey town, near enough to NYC to give it bedroom community status. A sold out show, a good audience and a good performance.

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Today, Day 4, we were in Blackwood, New Jersey, a town that nobody seems to have heard of, located somewhere near Philadelphia. We were stuck all day on a completely deserted community college campus, not a soul in sight. Not a dog or a cat, I didn't see a squirrel or a bird, it was a vacuum waiting to be filled by the Zombie Apocalypse. The venue itself was a dingy little room with nothing really to recommend it….. and it was a very slight crowd. We tried our best. The audience, small as it was, worked hard trying to keep us on track. It was one of those days that is best laughed about and forgotten, best to keep up a strong front, keep the doubt and foreboding at bay. Tonight we head further south to the Washington area. Maybe we'll find a bit sun, a little bit of warmth, a break of some sort.

Falls Church, VA – March 2, 2014

When I woke up this morning we were just pulling in to Falls Church. The front lounge was toasty, a kind of warmth that only the sun can create. Sixty degrees and sunny, life begins to not look so grim. Jared, Pete and I found a bar that was serving a late Sunday breakfast and watched the Capitals take on the Flyers while we ate our bacon and eggs….not so grim at all. While we were in the bar watching hockey, someone stole and then swapped out the day, the temperature dropped fifteen degrees, the blue skies turned into a snarl of dark clouds and the wind began to do its thing. And then the rain started. Cold, hard rain. We have a day off tomorrow in New York and there is a winter storm watch up and down the east coast, which could throw a large wrench in our day off plans. Sometimes its not easy to catch a break. Despite the rain continuing unabated for the rest of the afternoon, we made it through soundcheck and through the Oscar night red carpet ceremony. Tonight's gig was just what we needed. An excited crowd that didn't give a shit what the weatherman said, they were there to enjoy themselves. We had a very good show, loud and clangy, as I said, just what we needed. Who needs the sun…..

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Tour Diary – Iowa City, Evanston and Ann Arbor (Nov 1 – 3, 2013)

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

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Iowa City (Nov 1): We had a day off in Iowa City…Halloween in a college town. Most of us stayed safely inside our rooms and watch the debauchery unfold on the streets below. As the night wore on the howling became more intense, the clothing a little bit scantier and the footing a lot less sure…woo-hoo, paaaaaarty. Pete and Jeff decided to dress up for the occasion. Pete dressed up as his favourite hockey player and Jeff dressed up as Belzebub or maybe it was the donkey from a Midsummer's Night Dream….I'm not sure.

It was another church tonight. Not a bad sounding church, but a church nonetheless. The main issue was the size of the stage which was so shallow that we basically had to line up in a row against the altar wall. It made for a tough time hearing each other on stage. But it was a fantastic audience, small but mighty, and they helped us through.

Evanston (Nov 2): We always enjoy playing The Space in Evanston. It is not yet a great sounding room, but they keep tweaking and slowly improving it. It's a definite listening space which is what makes it a fun room to play, the audience is tuned in from the first note. They also have a great dressing room space in the back, which is clean and comfortable and inviting…and it has a turntable and an eclectic vinyl collection, say no more. We had a great day and two excellent shows…both of them sold out, with two excited and appreciative crowds. Tonight was the first night on this tour where it felt like we really took off…sometimes it just takes some time.

Ann Arbor (Nov 3): When we were pulling up to the venue this morning we were trying to figure out how many times we have played Ann Arbor. Al figured that it was around 350 times, it's probably closer to 20, but we settled on “a lot”. It's always been a good town for us and it's an easy place to visit. The Ark has been our home in Ann Arbour for the past few years. It's a small venue but a great listening space, the audiences are always tuned in and the room and stage sounds great (the only negative is that the dressing rooms are crap). The Ark is a non-profit room and tonight's show was part of their annual fund-raising. It was another good audience tonight, but I thought our performance was a little uneven, not terrible but it never took off….a little disappointing from our side of the stage but the audience seemed to enjoy themselves which in the end is what its all about.

Next up are The Kennedy Suite concerts on Nov 22 and 23 at the Winter Garden Theater in Toronto. We and alot of people behind the scenes have been working like demons putting the show together. It involves over 30 musicians and a few other whiz-bang production thingies ….it is going to be an exciting night of music, something completely original and something that we probably won't repeat, so if you are looking for a road trip…I think it will be worth your while. We hope to see you there.


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Tour Diary – Stoughton and Minneapolis (Oct 27 – 30, 2013)

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

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The day started bright and beautiful, and quickly turned a little gloomier on hearing that Lou Reed had died. He's the first of our rock god pantheon to die a “natural” death, the first of, no doubt, several to follow over the next decade. It's hard to process the death of someone that you don't have a personal connection with, but someone who nevertheless has had a significant effect on your life through their art. It's not like their absence will now affect your day to day life, but there is a definite sense of loss….mostly it makes one long for those days when so much was new and music, in particular, consistently and constantly changed the way you processed the world.

As I mentioned it was a beautiful Fall day in Stoughton, Wisconsin. We spent the day wandering around this sleepy little town, I gazed longingly at the river that ran through its middle. I made the decision to not bring my fishing gear on this tour, thinking that it would be too cold and the opportunities to fish, too thin. I kicked myself, it would have been worth the effort to have had a couple of hours standing on the banks, on this spectacular day.

It was a nice little venue tonight. One of those classic small town opera houses sitting on the second floor of the town hall. It was an odd show….we were a little tentative as was the audience. It wasn't a bad night, but it never seemed to take off, perhaps Uncle Lou was on our minds.

****

We've always enjoyed coming to Minneapolis, but it's an odd town. It has grown substantially in the two decades that we have been coming here, but it never seems to change. I think a large part of the reason for this stasis, is the 2nd Floor interior walkways that connect all of the main buildings in the downtown core. Everyone is inside and getting from place to place through these hamster tunnels which leaves the streets feeling very flat and lacking energy. It's a thriving downtown core but it doesn't have that feel, unless you venture into the buildings and experience the mad lunchtime scramble through the warren….it is all just a bit too low budget sci-fi for my tastes.

We had a day off on Monday which also happened to be Pete's birthday. We plied him with drinks and went to watch the Wild get dissected by the Blackhawks…Al bought him a Wild t-shirt to commemorate the day….a t-shirt of his favourite player, Clayton Stoner.

We had four shows over two nights at The Dakota Jazz Club. It's an odd room, with the stage facing the short wall and a PA that doesn't seem to be properly tuned, which makes it difficult to find a groove on-stage. We probably bit off more than we can chew with the four shows. Two shows would have been solidly sold out, but as it stood, both of the late shows were a little light. These weren't great shows from our point of view. We seem to be having difficulty finding our rhythm on this run. We're not playing badly but we seem to be lacking a bit of intensity. The audiences didn't help our woes, they seemed to be lacking the same intensity, it was like both sides of the stage were waiting for the other to single that it was ok to let loose a little, with neither wanting to make the first move. By the last of the four shows we kind of figured it out and realized that we just needed to play for ourselves and the audience will follow (a lesson learned and relearned dozens of times over the years) …which they eventually, grudgingly did. Maybe all of us Northerners are beginning to slip in to our winter hibernation phase. Time to slap ourselves around a bit and finish off this tour on a high note.

We crankily watched the Red Sox move toward their World Series victory during the break between our shows. Jared once again gets to celebrate and shove another Boston championship in our faces….bastard.


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Tour Diary – Buffalo, Saugatuck, Chicago (Oct 24 – 26, 2013)

Monday, October 28th, 2013

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We shuffled off to Buffalo, stumbled down the QEW… a morning departure, an intense but simple border crossing…and we were there. We've never really found a home in Buffalo. We've played various venues and sometimes miss the city entirely on any given tour, despite it being an easy two hour drive down the highway. Tonight we were in the smaller room at Buffalo's main concert hall. It seemed to fit well with the locals, as we had a full house…..it also helped that this was the one and only Trinity Session show on this leg. We fought the room during soundcheck, a large empty space with a lot of hard surfaces designed for acoustic instruments, not for electric guitars and a drum kit. But once the hall was full and we settled in and figure out the acoustics, the show slowly came together: in large part because the audience was excellent…enthusiastic and responsive. It was a perfect way to kick off this little road trip.

*****

One long overnight drive and the road fog descends. Day 2 and it feels like we've been on the road for a couple of weeks. A ten hour drive around Lake Erie, where the lake effect weather keeps the roads in a constant state of disrepair, it's like trying to sleep in a giant Yahtzee can. Saugatuck is a pretty little town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, but it's quaint downtown strip has been overrun by kitchy tourist stores selling t-shirts and fudge. From the perfect repair and size of the houses and the boat slips it looks to be a town with an abundance of cash, probably a vacation spot for well-to-do Chicagoans. It was a pleasant spot to spend a day and to try and regather some strength. This is our second time at the Saugatuck Art Center, which is a functional room, not great sounding, not terrible sounding, but it was sold out which always helps to lift the spirits on stage. Last night we started playing Take Heart off of The Kennedy Suite. It's a delicate, tricky little number, which I think we did a good job of tonight. We also plan to add in Disintegrating to the set one of these nights. The audience was a bit tentative tonight, there may have been a few weekenders out for the evening who were a little puzzled as to what they were listening to….all-in-all a pretty good night.

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Chicago is always a favourite stop. It's without a doubt one of the countries great cities. Tonight we were in a new venue for us, The City Winery. We have played The City Winery in NYC a few times over the past few years and its always a relaxed and enjoyable gig, so when we go the invitation to try out their new location we jumped at the opportunity. The venue is in the old meat packing district which is just west of the downtown core. The area is filled with some beautiful century old brick warehouses that are being refurbished and retro-fitted for modern day uses. This is what Chicago and all great cities do best…incorporate their past in to their present, build on their strengths. It was a two show night, which is always tough. The first show was a little rough, the audience a little pre-occupied with their dinner. The second show we relaxed a bit and let the music take us for a bit of a spin. Rahm Emmanuel (current mayor of Chicago, ex-chief of staff for Obama, ex-Clinton advisor, etc..) was in the audience for the first show and he came backstage afterwards to stay hello. Apparently he and his wife have been fans for a long time and they have seen us at various locations over the years. It was a pleasure to meet him, his wife and his friends. It never gets old finding out whose listening to your music, musicians generally work in a vacuum and occasionally one gets a glimpse at how music has the ability to cross so many different types of boundaries. We started playing Disintegrating tonight…its a tricky little number and needs some time to mature.


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Tour Diary – Denali National Park (Sept 8, 9 and 10)

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

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September 8, 2013

It's hard to describe what happened over the past three days. It will take us a while to process it and it will no doubt stay with us for a long, long time. This wasn't an easy journey, but the ends more than made up for the means. We had an 8:30am departure from Talkeetna this morning and a 3 hour ride through the rain to the entrance of Denali Park. At the park entrance we left our modern passenger buses and transferred on to two Denali Park buses. Two glorified school-buses with the same suspension, diesel fumes, and officious driver that you all remember from your childhoods. We settled in and resigned ourselves to the seven hour bus ride that stretched before us…not really knowing what lay ahead.

Most of the ride felt like we were on safari on another planet. The enormous sweep of the landscape, both smoothed and ripped by millions of years of glacial migration is, if nothing else, other-worldly. Covering most of the six million acres is tundra, which for me once invoked an image of brown, soggy, nondescript moss that Musk Ox trundled upon. Who knew that in the Fall all of the plant life that make up tundra, the lichens and mosses and small bushes, explode into a vibrant, rich, surreal patchwork of colour: reds, browns, ochres, purples, pinks, every shade of yellow and green that has yet to be imagined by all the painters to have ever picked up a brush. Surreal, other-worldly, alien, awe-inspiring…words fall flat and photographs even more so. Adding to the surreal vibe was the weather: the rain stopped as we ventured deeper into Denali and the cloud ceiling lifted to about 5000 feet but never broke up, so we were under a glowing greyish dome all day…it was the perfect weather and cloud coverage to really accentuate and intensify the fall colours that stretched for miles above us, below us and on into the distant horizon. An added accent to the landscape was the wildlife that we came upon; caribou, grizzly bears, mountain sheep, moose, ptarmigans, golden eagles. Remarkable…so utterly remarkable that the pain being inflicted upon ones body by the grinding engine, worn out shocks and pothole filled dirt road was completely bearable….it was a very christian ride, with so much pleasure there had to be a bit of pain. The only negative on the day was that the low ceiling blocked out the Alaskan Mountain range and along with it, Mount McKinley. We were told that Mckinley is only visible on four or five days a month during the tourist season…so we didn't feel so bad and its hard to miss something that you have no experience of.

The end of our journey was the Kantishna Road House located at the very end of the dirt road we'd been following all day. This is the sort of eco-tourist lodge you read about in the NY Times Travel Section: exclusive and, no doubt, expensive as hell. It's not a luxurious place, but comfortable and functional, it's allure is its location, right in the middle of six million acres of pristine wilderness.

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September 9

The lodge offers all sorts of outdoor entertainment as part of its amenities and has several guides on staff to lead treks across the tundra and up onto the surrounding mountain ridges and anywhere else one chooses to explore. The cool thing about Denali is that they encourage hikers to walk anywhere in the park, unlike most National Parks that insist you stay on the trails. In Denali they haven't created any trails, their mission is to leave the park as natural as possible and avoid any unnecessary scarring. So instead of having a path that is tramped down and denuded of any life by the thousands of hikers that would follow it over the years, they allow hikers to scatter across the tundra and make their own way and thereby ensuring that the ground they cross has no traces of them an hour after they pass. Our group of 64 scattered for the day, some just relaxing around the lodge and others taking on the challenge of a day long tundra hike. In our group; Pete and Jared grabbed a couple of mountain bikes and went in search of Griz; Margo and Ed went on a hike to Wonder Lake that, on a clear day, reflects Mount Mckinley; Farns relaxed around the compound and panned for a little gold (with no luck); and Jeff and I grabbed a couple of fly rods and hip waders and waded in to the stream that ran by the foot of the lodges properties. Fish are one thing that are not plentiful in Denali, because most of the rivers are glacial and filled with silt making them uninhabitable to most fish. This stream was crystal clear and home to Arctic Grayling, a trout-like fish with a superhero dorsal fin. I was skunked in my grayling quest, Jeff caught two, and it was an amazing day. Clear blue skies, sparkling water, surrounded by hills covered in the patchwork quilt of the tundra colours, it doesn't get much better. Everyone in the extended group came back from their activities with their eyes sparkling and their heads shaking in wonder at what they had experienced. That night, after dinner, Margo, Jeff and I played an acoustic set made up of requests sent in from our fellow adventurers. It was a fun, relaxed set played for a bunch of people who had all had a very good day.

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September 10

And then more pain to pay for our pleasure…departure from the lodge was at 6:30am. We needed to track back across those miles of dirt roads in order to catch a train at the entrance of the park to take us back to Anchorage. The prospect of having to endure that bus ride again, despite the views, was daunting. But we lucked out again with the weather and as the sun came up over Denali Park we were treated to Mount Mckinley and the Alaskan Range basking in the alpenglow. The weather was perfectly clear for our entire trip so we got an entirely new view of the park, the clean fresh weather also seemed to inspire the animals and we saw more moose, mountain sheep, birdlife and even a big Grizzly lumbering along the road. After five hours on the bus we unloaded at the Denali Park entrance and climbed on-board the Alaskan Railroad for the eight hour journey to Anchorage. This being a Roots On The Rail production, a rail journey was mandatory and they spared no expense: booking the GoldStar section of the train with complete panorama seating and fully stocked bar car. It was a fitting, relaxing, and (seemingly endless) end to an amazing journey.

We fly home tomorrow (another 14 hour journey) and will try and slide back in to our real life, causing as few ripples as possible. It's always difficult coming back from an experience like this one, you can talk about it and try and describe it, show a few pictures, but ultimately you had to be there to truly understand….that's why they call it an experience. We give great thanks to Charlie and Sarah and Gary and all those at Roots On The Rails that put this adventure together and we give special thanks to all of our fellow adventurers that put up the dough to make this trip happen and had the grace, the perseverance and the sense of humour to make it work. But most of all we thank Alaska, a place that will not disappoint, and all those slightly bent and wonderfully odd Alaskans who are unlike any of their fellow countrymen and help to make this part of the world such an interesting and unique place to visit.


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Tour Diary – Talkeetna, AK (Sept 7, 2013)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

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We left Anchorage early this morning on two buses, the Alaska adventure has begun. Many of our patrons/guests/fellow adventures also took part in the Over The Rhine trip so it was a quiet three hour drive to Talkeetna. I've been looking forward to this day of the trip for many weeks. It's the one day on the itinerary, where I have a few free hours and where we are within easy striking distance of some renown fishing spots. I figured I'd make the best use of my time and hire some local knowledge to put me on top of some rainbow trout. Skip Merkley was my man and he came through in spades, providing me with fishing gear and outfitting me head to foot in rain gear to keep me warm and dry. I was hoping to get to on one of the rivers that flow through the area, but there has been so much rain that all the rivers are blown out. Skip put Plan B in to action and pulled up at the hotel with canoe in tow and we headed off to a local lake. It was a slow day on the water but completely enjoyable. I had a half-dozen half-hearted strikes throughout the afternoon and finally, when we were heading in so that I could get back for soundcheck, I landed a rainbow…not big by Alaska standards but it made my day.

This is a very cool little town out in the middle of nowhere. Populated with those looking for a different way of life or simply a new beginning. I can see how it could get under one's skin. Come for a visit and stay for a lifetime. All those quirky personalities and personal histories have pulled together to form a true community. It's a rarity in these times to find a town which has been so fully formed by the attitudes and perspectives of the people who inhabit it. I talked to more people today that lived off-the-grid than on it. They wear their badge of non-conformity on their sleeves here and the result is a unique and vibrant little town.

True to form, the venue tonight was as funky as the town: located in an old aircraft hangar (rechristened an Arts Center) at the edge of the still active air-strip that runs right through the center of town. We had an amazing show. Inspired by the beauty of the surroundings, the friendliness of our hosts and the enthusiasm of the audience: it was loose and free-flowing, just like the town.

Tomorrow we head out on a mammoth travel day into the heart of Denali Park. We pray for this weather to break so that we can enjoy the spectacular views that everyone has been promising us since we got here.


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Tour Diary – Anchorage, AK (Sept 6, 2013)

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

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It's the rainy season here in Alaska…who knew? It came down pretty much all day so I spent most of it in my room. I was in no mood to browse through the dozens of souvenir shops that line the main street, any object that you can imagine branded with “Alaska”. Around dinner time the skies cleared and a spectacular light flooded the city and the Chugach mountain range revealed itself. The souvenir shops disappeared and the magnificence of the setting exerted itself.

The gig tonight was at a nice sized theater on the University of Alaska campus. It was a co-bill with Over the Rhine and it was great to hear Karin and Lindford again. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to hang with them very much. They were at the end of their Alaskan Adventure, were exhausted and had a 3am lobby call ahead of them. They did warn us to “stay off the sea”…..I don't need to be told twice, large bodies of water are not friendly places for me.

Our show was pretty good considering that we hadn't played since May. It was a little tentative, everyone waiting for the other to lead the way, no one feeling confident enough to do so. Pretty standard for a first gig after a long lay-off. But we had fun and its always good to be playing again. Tomorrow we edge further North.

 

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Tour Diary – Anchorage, AK (Sept 5, 2013)

Friday, September 6th, 2013

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Alaska is far, eh? I walked out our front door at 4:30am, Pete and I went to our studio, loaded our equipment, hooked up with brother John, drove to the airport, paid Air Canada $700 for our excess baggage, flew the five hours to Vancouver, ate a really average fish taco in the airport, flew another three hours to Anchorage and stumbled in to the hotel….a nifty little fourteen hour travel day. We were last in Alaska about seven years ago and as we wandered the streets of Anchorage, looking for food, memories of the city began to gurgle up. It's much like most cities in the far north, functional. But the one thing about Anchorage that puts it a cut above most northern cities is the abundance of brew pubs. I had a great IPA cask ale at dinner….all is good in the world once again. This short, week long tour is one of those welcome oddities on our tour schedule. We look upon this sort of thing more as an adventure than a tour. This particular one has been put together by our friends at Roots On The Rails, who also promoted the cross-Canada train trip that we did a few years ago. The way this one works is that about forty guests pay a lot of their hard earned dollars for an Alaska adventure and we and our music are a part of that adventure. It all starts in Anchorage tomorrow night with a show at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium (it's a shared bill with our friends Over The Rhine, who are at the end of their own Alaska adventure). On Saturday we all climb aboard a bus and drive 3 hours to Talkeetna which sits just South of Denali Park. During the day I will search for rainbow trout and at night we will do another show at a local venue. Then on Sunday the adventure really begins with a long journey in to Denali Park and a two night stay at a remote lodge in the middle of the park and an acoustic Junkies performance. We then catch a train back to Anchorage and start the long journey home. So stay tuned….hopefully I'll be posting lots of pics with me holding up big fish, Margo being chased by a bear, Pete riding a moose, Al sleeping among the Musk Ox and Jeff examining wolf poop. It should be fun.

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Tour Diary – Santa Cruz, CA (May 4, 2013)

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

This is not a bad town in which to end a tour. I've always liked it here, there is a certain impermanence about it, a beach town with lots of hippies and surfers and vagrants and many, many entrepreneurs…its a good blend. The weather was distinctively cooler today, but that's ok, none of us had the energy to travel too far from the bus and venue. We had a fun night on stage, a perfect ending to a very good tour. There are encouraging signs out there, as with the February tour, attendance is up, merch sales are climbing and the band is playing great….all of this helps to get us back out here when the time comes. We have a couple of one-offs scattered throughout the next three months, but mainly we'll be staying close to home and beginning to ponder about our next project. We will also be finishing up a collaborative project that we have been working on for about five years, which we plan to release on November 22nd….but lots more on that to come over the next few months.

In the meantime, the Leafs came out skating and won game 2, so there is hope for at least a competitive series. We carry those dreams back with us to Canada. A huge “thank you” to all who have followed us by checking in on the diary and especially to those of you who spent your hard earned dollars on tickets. Please keep an eye on this space for all things Junkie related….have a great summer, be safe and have fun….we'll be back out there before you even know it.

JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S SARATOGA DIARY: We ditched sleepy Saratoga after breakfast and ran right into the million or so cars trying to get to the beach on a bright and sunny morning. By the time we pulled into Santa Cruz, the weather had turned grey and the temperature was falling fast. The Rio has been home to the Junkies on many occasions over the years. The converted movie theater is nothing glamorous as a rock club but the management has always treated us Junkies fans like royalty. Today was no exception and the good vibes always translate into an awesome show in Santa Cruz.

Tonight's show ended the tour on the highest of highs. The band continued to deliver exceptional takes on the Nomad series and an unexpected addition of "Ladle" to tonight's mix was razor sharp in its ferocity. Presenting the Nomad series as a separate set worked extremely well in the live setting and hearing "Damaged From the Start" each night was a moment to cherish. The second set brought out even more songs that we had not heard on the tour including "Crescent Moon" and the entire River Trilogy. The band let it rip on "Murder Tonight…" during the encore and then the amps were unplugged and the bags were packed to go home. Over eight shows in eight days, the band played consistently brilliant and the changing set lists made each night unique and special.

Last Saturday, I bumped into Margo in a hotel lobby in Seattle and life following the tour resumed just as I had left it. This run down the coast was engineered by long time friends Chris and Stephen and I had the pleasure of not planning any of the details. In fact, the one detail I did plan, my flight home, I booked a week from now which caused some stress after the show tonight when I realized the mistake. Junkies fans, new and old, crossed our path all week and the friendships were easily rekindled. The band and crew were, as always, generous with their time despite the grueling schedule. As I sit here packing my bag (for my new flight from San Fran in a few hours), I am again reminded of how blessed I am in life. To Mike, Margo, Pete, Al, Jeff, Jared, Farns, and the fans who shared a beer or talked story with me this week, thank you for everything and I will definitely see you down the road.
 

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