Show in Boston was originally set for the Wilbur Theater, but word had been relayed that that establishment had been shut down or closed the night before. Luckily and apparently with no troubles, the gig was moved across the street to the Roxy. Simple enough…don't even have to change the address in the GPS.
Arrival at the Roxy was late and soundcheck was hurried. The room itself was gaudy and regal, I seem to recall being momentarily blinded by the overabundance of gilt. Our set time was for a half-hour after doors opened and when that 7:30 hit the room was vacant. We were given an additional 15-minute reprieve.
We decide to enjoy ourselves on this night. Our set consisted of
Ever Lovin' Man
Sun is Shining
Once we got onstage, there were slightly more people watching us. There were some requests for something, Mick looked back as if we should consider it and I yelled earnestly "Stick to the Plan!" We played the set as we plotted it, focusing mainly on the twenty-plus minute version of "Kung Fu."
Halfway through I grabbed the mic and as we romped through "Dance This Mess Around" I talked to the crowd about Pudge Fisk and the Green Monster and realized the crowd were not baseball fans. Remembering the unnecessary three cases of beer sitting in our dressing room backstage, I tell the crowd if anyone is truly broke, to come to the merch table to buy a shirt and I will give them a free beer.
We finished, I grabbed four beers, made my way to sell merch and was pleasantly surprised with how many concertgoers came over to compliment the band on the good show, but also, to buy t-shirts. When they realized I was not bullshitting about the free beer, they seemed all the more intrigued. I say with pride that we sold more merchandise than Spiritualized that night.
After the show we got out of town early and ate at a late night rest stop McDonald's. Got to the Best Western near the Albany Airport late (we farted around trying to find a hotel with rooms for what felt like an eternity) and I stayed up the relatively short time until they started to serve breakfast, at (I believe) 5am.
Being an airport hotel, the others awake at this time were mainly pilots and flight attendants…and Troy. The two of us looked hilarious…him in his ripped-leg sweat-pants and serial killer stubble, me in the soccer shorts and zipper boots and manicured beard. Times like these kind of transcend description and instead enter the pantheon of moments that resonate in your mind as neither important nor crucial nor groundbreaking. They are brief and unforgettable and have an unimpeachable dose of being the peculiar moments you focus on when thinking back on time spent on tour.
They had one of those timer waffle irons and I think they're heaven-sent. And orange juice. Breakfast divine.
Drive to Cleveland and I spent the entire time polishing off a biography on Robert Rauschenberg. It was good, but I was more pleased at the fact of how many books I'd finished on the tour…Marcus' Like a Rolling Stone, the Chick Sonic Youth bio, the Nick Drake bio and probably a couple more I'm forgetting. It seems like going on tour is the only time I can ever get any reading done. That bums me out usually, but we've been touring so much that I've actually finished quite a few recently.
Got into Cleveland with just enough time to check into the Days Inn and then drive a couple blocks to the fine dining of Mallorca. Spiritualized wanted to take us out for a proper meal and it was grand, the only downer being that such a meal was a great way to meet everyone…on the second-to-last day of tour. That and my food gave me diarrhea.
After the meal everyone else wanted to go grab a drink somewhere else and I wisely slipped out unnoticed. I casually walked back to the hotel. What I had figured was a straight walk on one street turned out to be not the case.
The neighborhood began to look more and more like Detroit and I realized it was not the route we had taken to the restaurant. I made a quick right turn and chanced upon a cop car pulling out of a police station. I asked the man which direction to Euclid Street. He pointed randomly and said it was two blocks. I asked again to clarify if it was two blocks forward or two blocks to my left.
He let out a sigh.
He asked if I had any guns on me.
I said no.
He told me to get in the car.
He said I was not in the best neighborhood to be walking around alone.
I told him it was alright, I'm from Detroit.
Good, he replied. Had I been wearing a Steelers shirt, I may not have been so lucky.
He then proceeded to ask me about the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal, rattling off Tamara Greene and Manoogian Mansion as if he were a grizzled Detroiter.
I was impressed.
He dropped me off at the hotel and told me to be safe.
I thanked him.
Most of down time on show day in Clevo was spent in bed. The faucets in the bathroom sink were weird in that if you twisted them just right, you'd get a weird subsonic bellow reminiscent of whale's sonar. I sat and fooled around with the handles for at least ten minutes before Pat interjected with a "Seriously…stop it."
Time at the House of Blues was nice. Decent food, good stage managing, a jolly assortment of friends and family from Detroit ventured out for the gig and only one of them cornered Spaceman awkwardly.
Highlight of our set, and possibly the tour, was Jason Pierce joining us onstage with acoustic guitar accompaniment for "Sun is Shining." I felt very humbled.
Buffalo next day was rainy and melancholy, Spirits preparing for their undoubtedly difficult sojourn across the US/CAN border and the Dirtbombs weigh the pros/cons of taking the shorter route (mileage-wise) through Canada and risk possible customs detention. We took massive group photos of both bands and the crew in front of Spiritualized's tour bus. We played…decent. I left after we had loaded the van.
Two day's later Troy quit and we were back at square one.