Buffalo - Show Day

Up early and into the venue for breakfast. Then watch an old Cary Grant movie on TCM till load in time. Set-up and soundcheck, then ride my bike around for a bit. Meet my buddy Dave and his daughter before the show and give them a little tour. Then they're off to watch the show. Back on the bus around midnite and watch Friday Night Lights then go to bed.

Toronto - Show Day

Up at 7am, no day sheet under my door, so I have no idea what time we are leaving the hotel. I'm guessing it will be earlier than usual as we are 50 miles from the gig. Go back to sleep, get up around 8:15 and as I'm making fake coffee my phone rings and it's Micah telling me the bus is waiting on me. Great. Quick shower and down to the bus, I'm only 10-15 minutes late. Not bad, also not my fault. Off to the gig, where it is pouring rain, and we're playing outdoors. Big gig, similar to Milton Keynes, about 40,000 people. Doors are 2 hours earlier than normal, so everything (soundcheck, etc.) will be pushed up. Rains off and on, hopefully it will stop by the time we play tonight.

Show goes off well, no rain. We have 22 pyro dragons tonight instead of our usual 6, also a big fireworks display at the end. Looks really cool, and the crowd of 35,000+ enjoy it. Long load out and climb on the bus bound for Buffalo.

Toronto - Day Off

575 mile drive to Toronto. We leave Chicago about 3am, arrive at the Canadian border at 8:15am. Everyone off the buses and into a little room, where we wait for 2 hours to get cleared through immigration. It just keeps getting worse and worse at these borders. Come on people, it's the digital age, we should be able to zip in and zip out, but instead we are all treated like criminals, even though we are coming into their country to create revenue for them.

Arrive at the hotel around 3pm. Quick shower and off to see a movie, just miss "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" showing, closest movie to the time is "Dukes of Hazzard", so I go to see that. Not bad, it is what it is... Popcorn is good too.

Back to the room, read a little, grab Thai dinner, read some more and fall asleep.

Chicago - Show Day

Check-out and go down to get on our new bus, as I approach the driver is coming off and it's none other than my friend Mo Jackson. Mo and I did BBMak back in 2000 together. He's a great guy and a good driver.

Arrive at the venue early and finish up work from yesterday, mostly stenciling my new road cases. Band comes in for soundcheck and everyone looks good and relaxed. JW will be playing on two more songs in the set, which is great, even if it's more work for me ;)

Go and meet my guests after dinner and give them a quick backstage tour. Show starts on time and goes well until 3/4 of the way through the set when the lighting rig goes black for half a song. Then the new pyro gag doesn't work. Uh oh, there must be a stage gremiln. Next it hits me as my acoustic sound doesn't work for the first quarter of 'Blvd'. Damn. The gremlin then moves to stage left as the keyboard rig loses power. Wow, honestly never seen this many things happen in one show. Hope the next one goes better. Band played great through it all. Long load out as we have a lot of extra cases and can only load one truck at a time.

Chicago - Rehearsal Day

Up early and take a stroll around downtown, go by the Navy Pier and through the Lakeshore Park, and back to the hotel. Decide to read my book across the street from the hotel overlooking the Lake and a man-made beach. Gotta keep my tan up. We go in around 10am to set-up and get stuff done for the first show tomorrow. Work a full day and don't get back to the hotel to well after 11pm.

RDU to Chicago

Paige drops me off at Terminal A at RDU for my US Air flight to Chicago. Stand in line at US Air and once I get to the counter they inform me that my flight is a codeshare with United Express and it leaves from Terminal C. Great, now I have to walk to Terminal C with all my luggage. Check in curbside, to avoid any more hassles and I'm off to the gate. Plane boards a few minutes late. After takeoff I read most of the flight. We do hit an air pocket and drop about 100 feet or so, scares a few people. Nothing from the pilot on this...

Arrive in Chicago on early and go wait for my luggage at the designated belt. After waiting for 30min, I overhear a few people from my flight saying our luggage is at another belt (even though the belt I'm at still says RDU on it). I cruise over to the other belt and see bags from my flight going round. Don't see my bag though. On my way back to the other belt, I happen to glance at the oversize belt and see my bag next to it. Granted, it's a backpack/duffel style bag, but it's considerably smaller than a regular piece of rolling luggage. So after an hour I have my bag. Join fellow crew members from other flights for our ride into downtown Chicago. On the way our van driver gets pulled over, I think for running a light, and is let off with a warning.

Check into the W Hotel which is right on Lakeshore Dr. across from the lake. Meet more crew members in the bar and hear about everyone's time off. Then up to bed to read and get ready for an early call.

Had hoped to update the blog as soon as I got out here. But work and sleep have gotten in the way. More soon.

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