Today marks the day when we decamp from our temporary home in NYC. We’ve been based here for two whole weeks now. I can’t think of another establishment in the world where the staff have become friends in the same way. From the doormen, to the desk staff, the bar staff, the housekeepers all the way up to the management and the owners. Some of them have come along to the shows, many have shared a drink with us. For obvious reasons, naming the place we stay when visiting NYC would be frowned upon, but for services above and beyond – and for pretty much defining "home from home" they deserve at least a mention. ‘Til next time, many thanks from us all!
Of course, 14 days in the same room means packing becomes the ultimate nightmare. My stuff is everywhere and every day I’ve either bought something new, or brought something back from the gig to work on. I actually started packing 3 days ago and finished the the night before leaving – going to bed with my bags neatly by the door. Alarmingly organised!
Something I noted in Detroit on the ride in to the venue is also in effect here in Atlanta. The wide open spaces make the sky seem huge. Until we’re right up to the city, there is an almost total lack of tall buildings. I’m a sucker for cliched imagery and I totally understand why power lines, telegraph poles and so on are used to romanticise the vast open spaces in the USA. I guess it’s the contrast with Manhattan that makes it so striking. Touring is a strange and wonderful thing in the things you’re privileged to see. The travel can be something to endure, but every now and again, you remember that it can actually be a joy. It’s usually in a van somewhere when you least expect it that these little moments hit you, too…
I pop into the dressing room before the gig to pick up some film for Guy’s foot-operated gig-camera and I end up having a Polaroid taken of my aura. This is beyond bizarre. From God-knows-where in New York, he’s picked up a contraption that looks like a big old bellows camera. Attached to it by cables are two paperback-book-sized panels which the subject places their hands on. When the Polaroid develops, there is a coloured cloud around the subject’s head. Different colours mean different things. Guy points out that his interest is purely from photographic curiosity, rather than any kind of paranormal obsession. He’s getting shots of not only the band, but also, members of the crew. Most of the results so far have just been clouds of murky red. This means little apparently. It’s only when Pauline, one of the band’s longest serving caterers steps in, that things get interesting. Her shot turns out bright bright white – a sign of powerful psychic energy, apparently. Mine, disappointingly, but somewhat inevitably is a dull red mush. My aura couldn’t be poorer, it would seem.
Returning to an old theme for a moment, myself and Neill stand watching our video monitor as the C-stage is about to begin. Some folks know it’s coming and are already excited. Others are completely unaware of what is about to happen. The lights have just come on and the band have disappeared, so two guys are wandering up the steps towards the exit. Presumably they’re either going to put more beer inside them, or to let some out. They’re completely unaware that about ten feet from their seats, the band will shortly appear for the acoustic section. i don’t catch their return. I wonder whether they come back in the middle of it all, or if they miss it completely and their girlfriends are still trying to convince them that they’re not joking, it really did happen….
Off to Miami now for a day off by the sea – it’s hell, I tell ya.