After our initial rehearsals, we had a few days off at home while our equipment was being trucked across country to D.C. for the big production rehearsal. That's when it all really starts to come together. No more playing in a small room wearing headphones trying to imagine what it will all sound like on stage. We'll finally be in a concert hall with a full set of lights and a kick-ass sound system. It will also be our first chance to meet the guys who make all this stuff work, the crew. These guys are the backbone of the tour and deserve a lot of credit for what they do but I'll talk more about that later.
Now that my few days at home had come to an end, it was time for me to pack my bags, head to the airport and catch a flight to our nation's capitol for production rehearsal and the start of the tour. Well, I hadn't flown in a while and I was in for quite a surprise when I got to the airport. Of course, I expected the usual heightened security but this was different. This time I was singled out and taken to a separate area for a thorough security check which entailed removing everything but my shirt and pants and to having everything in my luggage pulled out and hand inspected. After which, I was left to figure out how to repack all they had unpacked and make it to my flight on time. I mean these guys were on me like bums on a baloney sandwich. Only later did I discover that there are a few things that are sure to raise a red flag. One is a ticket, which is randomly stamped, with a checkerboard pattern in the corner, and another is a one-way ticket, especially when it's to Washington, D.C.! Well, you guessed it. I had both!
Once I had satisfied the anti-terrorist security screening, I finally made it to my flight only to find out it was not just sold out, it was overbooked. Well, there was no way in hell I was going to give up my seat. They could've offered me a week in Hawaii for my ticket and I still would have turned it down. I was a man on a mission! I was a musician with a gig! I had a dedication like a postal worker who hadn't yet gone "postal."
After playing musical chairs with the available airline seats, they finally herded us toward the boarding gate and then on to the plane where we all scrambled to find our seats and any space still left in the overhead bins. I'm amazed at what people will try to cram in to those things, but that's another story. Anyway, after everyone had settled down, we took off and were finally on our way to D.C. when a thought occurred to me. "Hmmm? I wonder if they provide a meal on this flight." The good news is, yes they do serve a meal. The bad news is the menu was designed for an eight year old. In fact, it looks like it was made by an eight year old. You know, that flat meat turkey on a sourdough roll that's more dough than sour for a sandwich with a bag of chips and perhaps some cookies for desert. Well, I ate the chips immediately, ate what I could of the turkey / sourdough surprise and saved the cookies for later. I then wisely ordered another gin & tonic in preparation for what was surely going to be a really long flight.
More to follow, Botts