And it was better than Indy as far as playing with confidence and accuracy, but there were still some minor issues with ending at the right time and reading signals from Tim Butler.
All in all, it feels like it’s moving forward. We played at the House of Blues in Chicago, which is a really interesting venue. The sound system is top flight, and my monitors were clear as a bell. I think we played the best version of “Love My Way” we’ve played yet. Mars (saxophone) is from Chicago and the hometown crowd was pretty clearly delighted he was there. It was interesting, also, that the crowd was so large that I think that they were unable to really jump around and get into the show as much as they would have liked if it hadn’t been so packed.
House of Blues is an entertainment complex- it’s massive and there are a lot of people working there full time. The dressing rooms are palatial and larger than many of the clubs that Music Hates You plays. I am finding that the large crowds aren’t freaking me out at all, it’s more apprehension that I am not going to play well that is making me a bundle of nerves around show time. I have to keep telling myself that it’s only the first or second show and that it’s not going to be a perfect show, and be ok with that. The Butlers and I share a commitment to playing the absolute top notch show, though, and it’s frustrating to all of us, I think, that I am being a bit on the slow side getting all of this pulled together.
John Ashton, on the other hand, is about as laid back as I could have possibly expected anyone to be. He’s been all smiles and cracking small visual jokes or making faces during the shows. I find this immensely comforting, actually. I think he finds my anxiety and stress a bit unnecessary, and he wants me to remember that it’s only rock and roll. He’s a real gent and I only found out yesterday that he produced “Alice,” my favorite Sisters of Mercy song. It occurred to me last night to ask Richard if there was actually a girl named Alice that both he and Andrew Eldritch had known, as a woman by that name turns up both in “Alice’s House” and the SoM song “Alice.” Answer: Nope.
Another myth destroyed.
I did get to run around some in Chicago with John- we rode the El up to Belmont and got some Thai food and I hit my favorite thrift store looking for an extra pair of black jeans for this tour. No dice, but John suggested hitting a Banana Republic back near the club, so we rode back downtown and wandered Michigan Avenue a bit. I stumbled across the Levis store, which is what I would have bought if there’d been anything at the thrift, so I wandered in and LO! it was a half price sale. I am ridiculously loyal to the Levis 505 jeans, and getting a new pair for $20 was NICE.
After soundcheck, I ducked out to meet my friend Vicky from London who was in Chicago on business. She had some friends from work in tow and we went to get a bite to eat. I was, as has become my custom before the show, completely uninterested in food. Too anxious. I finally regretfully excused myself and went back to the bus to study the songs some more.
Then, the show went ok, as I mentioned earlier.
After the show, we convened briefly upstairs at the HoB to meet and greet, though it was mostly the Mars show up there, since a ton of his friends turned up. I met Mars’ wife, who is a really lovely person and sharp as a razor. I also happened to meet Phil Ranstrom, the creator of a film called “Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street,” a documentary about the open air market in Chicago which was the birthplace of electric blues. You can see the trailer here. It looks like an amazing film. It doesn’t have a distribution deal, yet, but you can maybe catch it on the festival circuit.
We finally climbed aboard the bus and headed for Detroit. I had hoped to sit up late for a while and hang out with Za (our backline tech) and Trish (our front of house engineer) because I think they’re doing such a fabulous job, but once I got a little food in my stomach and the road started to roar under the tires of the bus, I went limp and couldn’t hold myself up any more. I am putting so much pressure on myself to do well…. once the show’s over, it’s all I can do to not just fall asleep where I stand.
I climbed up into my bunk and slept all the way to Detroit.
We have a day off here today, and I spent most of it sleeping, too. I have my own hotel room here and I have been mostly just hanging out and doing nothing. Sometime later today, I plan on doing some laundry. Ah, the glamorous life of a rock star!