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Date: Tue 21 Jun, 2005 at 18:51
Headline: Deep Rock
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"Good, I was worried he wouldn't make it to the show"

-Greg Thomas, upon observing a large rock spray-painted with the words "Jesus Is Coming", just outside Rangley CO

Friday, June 17
8:35pm

A little over an hour away from hitting the stage, getting into "show mode." Just called home to check in, all seems to be well there. It's been non-stop since we arrived in Vail around 4:30. Tim and I missed load-in and headed off to the Eagle for our interview, which went pretty well. Jah Stone, the DJ, was a cool guy and will be at the show tonight. Also in attendance was a local friend of the station named Paul who will be recording tonight's show from the soundboard and burning us a copy. He's a big Floyd fan and supposedly has some west coast contacts, so if he's impressed tonight, perhaps we will get a chance to work together in the future. He brought in a copy of the Oakland 1977 Floyd concert bootleg (one of my favs!) to play as background music during the interview. Tim and I got to reminisce about earlier SoN shows, discuss our favorite Floyd tunes, talk to folks calling in for free tix, etc. We even got the studio version of "Better Than Life" played on the air, quite the happy occurence, although during moments like that I wish I were on the outside listening in. I've only rarely had the "fur rising" moment of hearing my own music being played on the radio.

Got back to the club, finished setting up my gear, grabbed a quick dinner, ran through soundcheck, and here I am. First chance I've had to catch my breath and take in my surroundings. This is our 4th visit to Vail, and we've now been here in each season of the year. I'm partial to Autumn colors, but really there's no bad time to be in Vail. It's simply a gorgeous piece of earth. There was something of a spiritual de-pantsing for me the last time we were in this area, so I wasn't altogether enthusiastic about another run so soon, but all the ducks seem to be more or less in a row this time and now that I'm actually here I realize how much I've missed playing live, even after only a few weeks away from it. I'm particularly excited about the set list(s) that we've put together. We're trying for as few repeats as possible over the next two nights, which has caused us to dig deeper into the PF repertoire and pull out some tunes that we haven't played in a long time, as well as add a couple of new ones. Should be fun.

The ride up was nice. I actually managed to get a little sleep here and there. My reading material this time around is Bill Bryson's A Short History Of Nearly Everything. I've been a fan of Bryson for a few years now, starting with his travel books and moving on to his writing on the development of the English language. This book has a similar bent, though the subject is science -- boiling all the history and bold print ideas into layman's terms and infusing the whole thing with more wit and wonder than, say, your average textbook. So far it's fascinating, if a bit dense and involved (and considering how dumbed down the material has been and what a slick pop-writer Bryson is, that should give you some idea of my ridiculosly light understanding of the scientific world), especially while traveling at high speed with loud music blasting away. Still, Bryson has proved to be a much more amiable traveling buddy than Henry Rollins.

Well, time to get dressed and head out.

1:20am

No Star Wars, no wallet, no monkey butlers, and my bass gear hates me.

Back from the club in record time. Not hungry, not energized. Very ready for unconsciousness. During the first set, the signal from my bass amp started disappearing intermittently. I was using some extra processing gear, including a cool tremolo pedal that Tim recently bought, in order to re-create the delay effects in "One Of These Days"....and apparently there was a malfunction in the system. As I've explained before, my expertise in all things technical is something that you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches, but near as I could make out, there was a short somewhere. If I had been thinking clearly -- or, indeed, at all -- I would have either unplugged everything and run a direct signal until the song came up at the end of the first set, or better yet, cut the song altogether. But I was stuck in "nothing can go wrong up here" mode, so I held on and kept fiddling with the equipment in a pissed-off, panicky, entirely unproductive way until the set break. The rest of the show I went dry and had no problems whatsoever, but I was so spooked and drained from the previous set that I was burning pure adrenaline. After the show I immediately fled to a couch on the far side of the bar, and didn't realize I had fallen asleep until Fozz came over and actually woke me up. Thought it best not to stick around at that point. Other than my snafus, I think the band played well. The crowd was not into the originals but they did know most of the more obscure Floyd tunes. "Childhood's End", brand new to us, rocked the house. Looking forward to playing it again tomorrow. Moderate crowd, but very active. Lots of dancing, always appreciated. Too bad this was the show being recorded, I'll bet tomorrow night blows it away.

Broke the zipper on my wallet. Gonna have to get a new one when I get back home.

Sleep. Sleep NOW.

Saturday, June 18
11:31am

Woke up early, went downstairs to use the exercise room here at the hotel, which I've meant to do (but not done) every time we've stayed here. Did some stretching, treadmill, weights. Feeling great. Got more sleep than I have after any road gig to date, partly due to my extreme burnout after the show. One positive side effect of the gear disaster, I suppose. Contemplating breakfast/lunch right now. Not sure what I'm going to do with my day. I had planned to go with Matt to see Revenge Of The Sith (his first time, my...severalth), but it seems the movie has just recently been booted out of town for newer fare and, according to online sources, cannot be seen within 70 miles of the area code. Dammit.Well, maybe we'll see Batman Begins instead.

Looking over the set for tonight, I'll probably cut "Midas" and maybe "Nowhere" too, considering the chilly reception that the originals received last night. Overall, though, I think this set is going to be stronger. Looking forward to redeeming myself for last night. We should load out tonight so that we can get a jump on the drive tomorrow. Would be nice to spend at least some of Father's Day with my girl.

Sunday June 19
8:26am

Just got out of the shower. Greg called, said everyone is on their feet but moving slowly. About what I figured. Well, we're already packed up at least. Again, I woke up early this morning without the benefit of an alarm. Four hours seemed like a pretty short night's sleep, but I'm starting to learn lately not to second-guess my body. Every time I wake up on my own with some semblance of energy, then make myself go back to sleep because of the time, I end up seriously regretting it when I wake up again and it seems like the gravity in the room has doubled. So, I decided to make the most of my morning and use the exercise room again. Very glad to have this hotel both nights in a row, though we had to take a theoretical pay cut to do it. The complimentary bottled water is labeled "Deep Rock". Cute. We should take a band pic with one.:-)

I watched a favorite episode of Sports Night before the show last night. Put me in a great mood, and I think Fozz found it fairly entertaining too. The gig was rockin'. Big improvement over the last one. Small crowd at first, but it grew over the course of the night. "Fat Old Sun" was pretty solid for being the first time out. "Echoes" was extremely well-received, always does my heart good. I ended up cutting all of the originals except "Mr Serious", since we started 30 minutes later than expected -- and even though it was fast & furious, Mr S didn't exactly sweep the audience off their feet. You never can tell what's gonna work. Decided to take a chance on hooking up all the FX again, just for "One Of These Days," and fortunately the gear decided to play nice for that 5 and half minutes or so. I had a great night. Dug as deep as I could, played my guts out, felt very thrashed after the show (in a good way). Missing Shannon this morning. Being alone at the end of a show is always hard, especially out of town. Should be used to it by now, but alas.

Fozz is awake. Time to start thinking about breakfast and departure. While I have a few spare minutes, I should run over to the club and get in another game of Galaga. I was gonna do one more as a victory dance last night, but got preoccupied with the load out and was too exhausted afterwards. Never know when we're gonna play here again, and my initials are only displayed on 4 out of the Top 5 scores, a situation which simply must be rectified. ;-)

9:50pm

The length of the trip home, even when unhindered by the kind of delays we experienced today (and oh my stars, were there ever some delays!) always takes me by surprise. I'm always thinking we're 90 minutes or so ahead of where we actually are. But I survived -- we all did, more or less. Unusual folky-muzak versions of Floyd tunes playing in the lobby of the hotel while we waited for everyone to assemble before leaving. Coincidence?!?

Listened to Marillion's Script For A Jester's Tear for the first time in a few years. What a strange little bastard of an album that is. Some good bits, but very disjointed in places. They've come a long way as songwriters since then. There was a Best Of Styx CD played while Juli was driving, accompanied by some unusually loud and disconcerting singing along from Fozz. I slept through most of it, dreaming strange dreams of the Kilroy stage show and pondering why Dennis DeYoung sounds so much like Jerry Lewis on some of those early recordings. Read a lot more Bryson on the ride, hope I'll still be able to finish it now that "real life" distractions are sure to abound. Fozz was also reading a sciency book, though from the excerpts he showed me, it seemed more concerned with the science itself than the people and history behind it, which is Bryson's focus. Meanwhile, Juli was absorbed in Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning. "Deep Rock", indeed. Guess no one was in a pulpy mood this time out.

Came home to a very cute "Happy Father's Day" banner, and spent the evening basking in the warm-glowing-warming-glow of my daughter's boundless energy. This trip was miles better than the last, but still...it's good to be back.

TB