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Date: Mon 13 Mar, 2006 at 01:34
Headline: Bring On The Weather

Greetings & Salutations!

First of all, let me tell you a little something about snow: it's white, and cold, and....well, that's it, really.

Also, my entire universe has been made up of it for the past few days.

After two successful forays into the heart of the Rockies during winter time, we thought we had finally come out the other side of the gauntlet and Spring weather would be less treacherous. By "we", of course I mean "I", and by "thought", of course I mean "was experiencing delusions." Actually, some form of divine intervention kept the roads between here and there fairly clear for the most part, but the weather was always factoring heavily into our plans in one way or another.

The two gigs we played were a study in constrats -- one small, low-key and private, one big, loud, and very, very public. Our first stop was at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, where we were to play a "dinner show" for students. Juli had day job duties, so we did the show as a 4-piece, and it went over pretty well, though it was a small event to begin with and some scheduling issues made it smaller still. The best part about doing this gig was finally getting a chance to meet Tommy Larson, who had seen us play at Levelz and pursued us for this show via e-mail. Tommy was fun, funny, and eminently hospitable, one of the coolest promoter/liason/hosts we have had the privlege to work (and hang out) with. After the show, we started making plans with him to repeat this sort of thing in the summer time, only on a larger scale. It's good to know we still have friends in Steamboat Springs, even with the fate of Levelz looking uncertain at the moment.

The next morning, Juli flew out to the Hayden airport and we headed off for Silverthorne. It had been blizzarding all morning in Steamboat, but once again the storms lifted enough to send us on our way, and the roads remained fairly clear. Along the way, I subjected Juli, Matt and Daryn to Bigger Than Jesus (Fozz having already seen it earlier in the week) and it was pretty well-received. Matt, not exactly sharing the teenage metal dude/dudess upbringing that the rest of us had, related less to it but still found it entertaining.

The show at the Silverthorne Pavilion was an important one. Not only were we thrilled to be returning to a great venue where we had one of our best concert experiences, but we knew that despite that experience, we hadn't exactly lit the box office on fire our first time out, so we were also eager to prove ourselves. Shortly before we left Utah, the venue management told me that they had already pre-sold over 100 tickets. A good start. When we arrived at the Pavilion for showtime (once again navigating a storm that poured upon us relentlessly while in town, but would clear mysteriously as soon as we had to be on our way) there was no parking to be had and a line out the door. During the break after the first set, we were informed that we had sold out the venue's seat capacity. Folks were still being let in, but it was SRO. Excellent. The crowd was amazing, not only in size, but in volume and energy, and they dug everything we played. Even the obscure stuff. Even "Visiting Mussolini." It was quite a heady night.

For me, however, there was an unexpected downside to this sort of thing -- I realized that I don't react to large crowds very well. Not in a stage-frighty sort of way, but a forest-for-the-trees overcompensating sort of way. I think it's a situation that everyone in the band struggles with to varying degrees, but on this night I found myself overplaying to the crowd, making bonehead mistakes in attempts to show off, then getting pissed with myself and making further mistakes, in a cycle that I just couldn't seem to break for a big chunk of the second set. The mistakes were not huge, not something the majority of the audience would notice, but they bugged me enough to seriously throw me off my game for a while. Eventually, I put on a pair of shades to semi-disconnect myself from things, and hung back near the drums for a few songs, gathering my wits. By the time we hit the end of the show my performance had been rehabilitated, but I had slipped into an internal funk that stayed with me well into the next day. What bugged me most was not that I had made mistakes -- that possbility is just part of the reality of playing live, and I try not to dwell on it -- but that the occasion had been so great, and I hadn't done my part to rise to it. At this point, though, I can at least recognize that it's a pattern (I had similar problems in Darrington and the first time that we played the Mesa in Grand Junction) and do something about it.

In the big picture, as Fozz and I noted during the next day's trip, there was no bad here. Despite moments of friction and stress along the way, this run consituted some pretty big strides forward for the band. We had fun, made some great contacts (including our fill-in sax player Dave Laub, who rocked the joint in Silverthorne) proved once again the show's drawing power and potential, and even got some decent take-home pay out of it -- and let's not forget the whole storm-dodging miraculousness. Colorado has definitely achieved the status of "home away from home" at this point, and no doubt we'll be returning again soon.

In the meantime, there's another return in the works -- our upcoming show at Harry O's in Park City, where we haven't played in over 2 years. Greatest stage in Utah. Gonna be a party long overdue...

bye for now