Day 9, Dispatch 1 - When we pulled into Fitzgerald's yesterday, I was feeling great & in a great mood. Fitzgerald's is more a pub than what I'd call a "bar", and everybody involved there is friendly and hospitable. I was glad to be back in Chicago and was excited to catch up with an old friend I hadn't seen in years. Turns out that Dennis knows him too - he used to give him guitar lessons! (Who hasn't Dennis given guitar lessons to?)
Rhoades also had some friends come out to the show early and we arrived late enough in the evening that after a quick setup and soundcheck, we were getting hungry. Dennis, myself, Rhoades, and our entourage of Chicago friends exited the venue and walked nearby to enjoy some Chinese food for dinnner and lots of great conversation.
I was glad we had enough time to eat (withOUT rushing!) and once we had finished dining, we arrived back at Fitzgerald's with plenty of time to catch the Hoyle Bros. The Hoyle Bros. are a Chicago band playing Texas Honky-Tonk and they are really great! All the players are very good at their instruments and all of them are crazy super cool. It's always good to see them in either Chicago or in Texas, and it's always fun to hear their set.
Once they were finished, we tore into our set and KILLED for almost 90 minutes. Over the course of playing every night for two weeks, I find myself in great drumming condition and I'm super relaxed onstage behind my kit and we're 3/4 of the way through the set before I realize it. Some nights 90 minutes can seem like an eternity. Other nights (like the nights on this run), 90 minutes is gone before I know it. We finished out our night with an encore of a couple of songs and then made our way into the crowd to visit and cool off. Don't know what it is about all this cool weather up here. In Texas, we all open our windows and are thankful for some respite from the heat of the long summer months. Up here, everybody's already in windbreakers and all the windows are closed which makes for some stuffy rooms. Anticipation of the long winter months to come perhaps? Once we were torn down and loaded up, we said our goodbyes and Bill Fitzgerald pulled me aside to tell me how much he enjoyed our set and my drumming. He's been there for 30 years and he's seen a lot, so his kind words were extremely appreciated and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We made our way to our hotel and after dropping off our belongings, we ventured out into the cool Chicago night air for a nightcap and hopefully more laughs. If there is anything we do well, it's make music and make each other laugh. There's always somebody saying or doing something silly that has all of us busting our sides. Last night was no different.
We found a little pizza joint/bowling alley still open and we arrived just in time to bear witness to a good old fashioned bar room brawl. Some dude said something to somebody and next thing we knew, KA-POW! Sucker punch! Despite the vulgar expletives and the blood on the floor, the bouncers were successfully able to contain and remove the parties involved and it was back to fun and games for everybody. We stayed out til stoopid o'clock (again) and I was glad to get back to our room.
Today's skies are clear and the breeze is cool and the temperature is perfect. I hope this weather follows us home to Texas upon our return. Summer's fun, but I'm ready for the seasonal change that the comes with the annual planetary trajectory around our star. Tonight we're playing the Gramophone in St. Louis. I'm looking forward to being back there too. Good times. Have a great day out there everybody and I'll report from there soon.
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