At the hall I got a change of clothes out of my suitcase and left the rest in the van. John showed us backstage. This place was split up into a lot of small rooms, which was nice, and they weren’t heaped with musty junk, which was nicer. We had a room to ourselves and a table ready to be catered for us. This was probably just a coincidence, but I couldn’t help feeling like we’d risen a notch in someone’s estimation since Portland. The chairs in our room were like the remnants of four or five dining room sets, all carved wood and padded seats but no two alike.
Out in the auditorium, the same video crew who’d been there in Seattle were working with MNB. Right now two of them were circling around the drummer with hand held cams while he drummed in sync to a soundtrack of one of their songs. Tread came up the aisle and we shook hands.
He cocked an eyebrow at me. “Did you get taller?”
“No, I’m standing up a step from you.”
“Aha…” He moved into the row with me and looked back at the crew on the stage. “You know, even I’m getting sick of this song, and I co-wrote it.”
He nodded. “It’s a four minute song but it takes four days of footage for some reason.”
The sound cut off abruptly. The drummer got up and stretched and the two camera men crouched at the edge of the stage to get instructions from another guy on the floor–the director, I assumed, wondering if I should meet him.
“Do you think this is going to last much longer?” I asked Tread.
He shook his head. “I sure hope to hell not. Looks like they want me next.” He gave a little wave as he bounded down to the stage and hopped up onto it, his pony tail swinging like a, well, like a horse’s tail swishing flies.
I went back to our room and tuned the Ovation, happy to have it back in my hands after the break. Normally, the strings held their tune pretty well from one day to the next, but I’d loosened them for transit and they were way out of whack. I used to hate tuning, I used to hate anything that delayed me from playing when I wanted to or prevented me from sounding as good as I might. Nowadays, I didn’t harbor strong feelings about tuning. Must be getting old.
Without thinking I started picking through the warm up routine I’d always used in high school. Chords, E, A, D, G, C, F, picking through arpeggios, climbing higher and higher, and then letting my fingers slide into a few familiar licks, Jimmy Page, Steve Howe, Alex Lifeson… I was picking my way through the riff from Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” when Christian startled me.
(whoops, a code glitch wiped out the second half of this post, so the rest is continued in “Juke Box Hero pt 2”, next post)
(A vintage version of this song is at the end of the next post, but I thought it would be kind of cool to show at 21st century one… -ctan)