Glorious Weekend

I spent a glorious weekend in the North East. The plan was to fly into Hartford on Thursday, and drive to great Barrington, Mass. For the show on Friday.  My stage manager Andrew Queen, ran into typical flight problems and didn’t make it to Hartford until Friday morning, which sucked for him because Lou and I (Louis Gosain, sound engineer, harmony vocalist and tour manager) celebrated Lou’s birthday at a wonderful bowling alley equipped with a full bar and funny computer graphics charting our frame by frame bowling match. Since it was Lou’s birthday, I let him win. The next morning we drove on small two-lane roads through plush hillsides and by family farms to Great Barrington, Mass. A wonderful small town, full of smiling faces and home to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (pronounced “muh hay wee”),which was built in the early 1900s. It has been immaculately restored. Playing super nice places is truly a luxury for me. There is something special about playing a strip mall dive that reeks of stale beer and is still dirty from the night before. I always seem to be slightly more uninhibited in a place like that. But the nice places tend to make me more theatrical and more appreciative of my job. I loved all the people we came in contact with in Great Barrington. From the hotel folks at the Days Inn (who didn’t charge us for the 3 rooms that we had reservations for but didn’t use the night before) to the folks at the CD store and the vintage clothing shop (where I bought stuff), as well as all the super nice and accommodating folks who worked at the theater, and the volunteers at the community radio station. While at the station, I met a young band named the Mclovins. They got out of school to go play songs on a radio show hosted by the 14 year old daughter of the woman who shuttled me to and from the theater. Community radio rules. It is something that my town so desperately needs. Now I hadn’t done a gig in about 3 weeks so by show time, I was excited. The audience was super respectful, being “pin drop” quiet at all the right times and “rock show loud” at other times. They were a dream audience.  The next day we had a short drive to Tarrytown, New York.  Another cool old town with a marina right under the Tapanzee Bridge. The Tarrytown Music Hall was built in the late 1800s. It too has been restored but still has that super old vibe as if it were haunted by cool hip ghosts that float around and oversee every thing that is cool and hip. All the people involved with the space were incredibly positive and somewhat inspiring to be around. They all share my passion on how a sweet theater can do wonders for a community. I’m sure a theater like this along with a community radio station would only improve the quality of life in my town. Sure, we used to have two, but the totally awesome one with a balcony became attached to a church and turned into a gym or something. The other was turned into empty retail spaces and reeks of fingernail polish from the salon that inhabits its confines (one of its few occupants). At least that’s the way it was the last time I went in there. It’s just sad. Anyway, back to the Tarrytown Music Hall. That night, the show had a slightly different feel. People abandoned the “night at the theater” idea and went straight into dance party mode. When this happens on the first song, the energy of the whole show seems to be positive. And it was. That night I had the pleasure of meeting author/blogging/marketing genius/music lover, Seth Godin.He had brought his sons and their friends who were obviously intrigued by the technology and special effects I was using. Again, young people excited about music is always inspiring. Seth was nice enough to gift me a signed copy of his book “Small is the New Big” he signed it “thanks for freedom. You prove me right every day”.  This made me incredibly proud.  As soon as I finish my book on Jaco Pastorious, and my over the top obsessive fascination with my fretless fender jazz bass subsides, I will dive into Seth’s book. I think Seth would understand.  Until then I will listen to his book on disk “tribes”, as I drive.