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off the wall



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Well, finally made it to the old keyboard. Access to internet has been extremely limited where I have been. The good news is, once I get to Michigan, Wallace is going to GIVE me a laptop!

Flew into Boston a week ago. Usually the first few nights, being just rehearsals are also a bit of a piss up.  But that's for those with no discipline!  I walked by the boys in the bar on my way back from MY WORKOUT and kept a clear head for the next two days of rehearsals.  Unfortunately the rehearsals are in a conference room and I'm confined to simulating the drum kit with a telephone book, chair, accordion case etc ... So ideas for new material are formed only in my head and don't always translate in practice. This is unfortunate for me as flaws in these ideas can only be discovered live and on stage.  Some stuff is working others not.

Our first gig was in the same town of Manchester, New Hampshire.  First gigs are always a bit shaky especially when trying out new material (given the aforementioned limitations) but we (I) did fine.

The next gig was about 6hrs away in Red Bank, New Jersey.  This was actually a shorter night as the wonderful 'Cherish the Ladies' opened. Jonie Madden and friends were in excellent form but were maybe slightly underappreciated by our more old fashioned audience (it's ironic to have to describe a traditional band with no drummer as ‘too contemporary’ but there you have it.)  After the gig we went for a few pints at the Dublin House 3 blocks from the gig and were bought copious amounts of booze from a bunch of fans at the pub. One of the guys from the theatre crew, Daniel, showed up and after some basic small talk we stumbled onto the topic of Genesis. It turns out the impossible of impossible happened. I met as big a Genesis fan  (if not bigger) as me!!!!!  In spite of this pretty blonde giving me the eye I stayed compelled in conversation with my new pal (the girl appeared to be with a guy but I later found out -all too late- that she wasn't WITH him as I initially presumed). The boys left, apart from Sean and myself and eventually Sean joined Daniel and I.  We ended up splitting to a friend of Daniel's for a drink. This was really my first party night and I loved every minute of it.

Next day, Sunday, was put aside for photo promo shots. There was a real pro in town named Danny Sanchez who has worked with a bunch of actors and rock stars like Springsteen and Bon Jovi. I wasn't needed for the location shoots because of my uncertain availability so I was just there for some headshots and studio band shots. So when the boys went to freeze their nuts off for the rest of the afternoon I had a nice full hangover breakfast followed by a refreshing walk around Red Bank which led me to Jack's record store.  Normally I'm strictly a dirt cheap cd buyer on the road but when you find a store that has some depth you have to take advantage as some of this stuff will never be found in Canada.  So I walked out with 3 great Cd's of somewhat rare status. (Geoffrey, two of these are thanks to you).  Steve Hackett - To Watch The Storm (that was because Daniel let me hear a bit of it the night before) Porcupine Tree - Absentia. And RPWL - Stock.  All three, fine records.  After a quick sampling of each back at the hotel I headed back into town to catch the evening mass (mum!).  Daniel joined me after for dinner and then we headed to his mates' house for a few beers, and their regular sunday evening 'Simpsons' viewing. Then we headed back into town to the Dublin house for a few and then on to another little spot a mate of his worked at down by the water.  Altogether a very satisfying day.

It probably sounds like there hasn't been too many gigs at this point. You're right. The photo day was not considered a day off but the next day was 'official'. Still in Redbank we had a short bedroom rehearsal simply because of the space between gigs so early on in the tour, but then it was 'all clear'.  I went back to my room and listened to Shannon Saunders'  (Paperboys lovely) wonderful solo record 'Cold November" and had a nap. Daniel called and apologised for not getting hold of me earlier but he got caught up in making me a couple of cd's of 'extremely rare' Genesis cuts. Apology accepted!!!  I in turn had awoke from my nap and was knee deep in my prog rock acquisition from the previous day and neck deep into a bottle of cheap white wine!  He showed up later with an extremely impressive collection for which I would have gladly kissed him on the lips in order to possess but which thankfully, was deemed  unnecessary.  I played him a little of my RPWL on my room speakers and we headed into town.  It was a suitable low-key affair but the duo on stage (forget the name of them) were really good. There I was in NEW JERSEY  and there's this guy with this great big voice belting out  early Springsteen and the E Street Band stuff. Brilliant.

The gig in Easton PA the next night was less than brilliant. Nothing catastrophic, the crowd loved it, just a good show with weak moments attributed to too much down time given the new material at the front end of the tour (forgotten parts, loose endings etc.) Early rise the following morning as we had to be at Newark, NY airport by 7:30am.  We flew to Chicago and had about a two-hour drive to Madison, Wisconsin.  So no gig again today and I'm hoping to find a way into Madison tomorrow (all of our US dates for some reason have hotels way outside of town by the highway where we're lucky if we have a mall close by) because it's a university town and that usually translates to RECORD STORES.

End of Ramble. Signing off.