Our “children’s book team” had set up another event in Dallas at a school, the Rosemont elementary school in the Oak Cliff area, only a few miles from the hotel. So I got up early and was picked up by a car and driver to be taken there. My pal Larry Wiseman from the American Forest Foundation had arranged to fly in from Washington, DC to attend as had the Porter-Novelli folks. It was pretty much the same as what we did in LA…we assembled about 200 kids…mostly 2nd and 3rd graders, their teachers, the principal of the school and this time we had in attendance the Mayor of Dallas, Laura Miller. She was quite impressive, very happy to be there and engaged herself into the event. It was another winner…the kids were very well informed and prepared. I asked them questions about the environment, trees and forests and they responded with really great answers. Then I read from The Tree Farmer with the illustrations being projected on a large screen behind me and after that played them a few songs. I did “Keep on Gwain’”, a New Orleans instrumental tune, “Little Liza Jane” by Hughey Piano Smith and “Great Balls of Fire”. They seemed to love it…applauding loudly after each tune and even clapping their hands to the beat when I was playing. Then we all went outside to plant a tree together. After it was over, we planted yet another tree in a park nearby for another organization that had been involved in restoring the park. All great fun and a total successful event.
Then it was back to the hotel to prepare for our departure to Houston.
Another good show to check off the list. Merle Haggard was supposed to open the show for us, but he had fallen ill and couldn’t make it. So they were able to get Delbert McClinton in as the opener on very short notice.
Delbert is a friend, as is his keyboard player Kevin McKendree. I helped Kevin get a gig several years ago with Lee Roy Parnell. From there he moved on to work with Delbert as well as becoming a top session musician in Nashville. It was great to see them and the rest of the band at the gig.
The did a wonderful job and we all had fun hanging out and catching up on things.
Frank and Jeanne came with us and both gave us compliments on the gig.
Afterwards we hung out in the hotel bar for a while…it was really crowded, though…and after a reasonable time we said our goodbyes and called it a night.
The 10:30 wake up call came sooner than I would have liked…but as we had to have the bags ready by 11 and I had a TV interview at noon, it was not a morning to hit the snooze button! We did our bags and set them outside the door for Spin to pick up. Then I hit the shower to get ready for the TV interview. It’s for a local Phoenix ABC affiliate. A nice young Native American lady named Mary Kay called at the appointed time and I went to meet her near the lobby. They had decided on doing it outdoors in the cactus garden. Her cameraman and sound man found some chairs for us to sit in, and we proceeded with the interview. She was well prepared and easy to work with, and it went very well.
I made my way back to the room to get Rose Lane and go for some more coffee in the lobby before checking out…we did that and met everyone at the appointed time to board the bus and go to the airport for yet another flight…this one to Dallas. I had been in touch with my old pal Frank Friedman over the last several weeks about getting together there. Frank is a psychologist with a private practice in Arlington, about 20 miles from Dallas. Frank used to live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when I was there and we used to play music together in various different settings. He went on after those years to finish school and get his PhD and start his practice. We got together with Frank and his wife Jeanne the last couple of time we’ve been in Texas, and looked forward to seeing them for dinner.
We made reservations at Stephan Pyles new restaurant in Dallas…it’s only been open about a week. I knew Stephan when we had a restaurant with Herren Hickingbotham and Michael Cox called “Star Canyon” there in Dallas many years ago. They sold that a while back and Stephan continued to do some cookbooks and TV shows…but got out of restaurant ownership until recently when he opened this one. So we went to see him and try it out. It proved to be a great one, with his wonderful imaginative southwestern style and a great ambiance.
Rose Lane had a rather restless night…waking me up several times. I tried to ignore her moving around so much but every time I would just about fall back asleep she would thrash about again. Finally at about 7am I gave up and got out of bed. She stayed in and rested some more. I did emails and went through some other things on my computer like finishing up an interview I had started a few days ago. I was hoping for a bit more sun time in the early part of the day, but a cold front had moved in overnight and put temps in the lower 60’s…to chilly for me. Eventually I went out of the room and wandered about the resort for a while before deciding to have breakfast.
The resort has a fabulous cactus garden walk, so I strolled down the path taking in all the beauty. At breakfast I ordered whole wheat pancakes, crispy bacon and a single scrambled egg…all of which turned out to be really good. I killed more time reading the paper and after finishing up I
walked down up to the gift shop to see if they have a Fortune magazine. The interview I did with Rik Kirkland when I was in NY during the last break was in the current issue, so I wanted to get a copy. Rik did a great job on the article … getting all my projects in there as well as some good info on Charlane Plantation. Jeff Craig had arranged to come to the show with Lisa Tenner, a well-known and successful public relations representative and a big Stones fan. They had made reservations at our hotel and were coming with me in the early van. So after getting back to the room he rang me to let me know they had arrived. I laid down on the sofa for a while to try and make up for the lost rest from Rosie’s restless night. She had gone out for a manicure and pedicure in the Spa. At the appointed time I went down to meet Jeff and Lisa and the others that were going down early. We had about a 40 minute ride to the gig. Like the Pepsi Center in Denver, we had also played this venue on the last tour…the America West Arena. It’s a nice room…good for sound with its padded seats and draped ceiling. I took Jeff and Lisa on the “stage tour”, got their passes sorted out and eventually settled them into the Rattlesnake Inn. I went off to do the set list and have some down time in the dressing room. It wasn’t long before Darryl got there, the rest of the band and staff as well. Again, no sound check, so I went back to the RI to check on Jeff and Lisa. I had also arranged passes for Alex Frinkrel and his wife Liz (I met Alex when he was a PhD student at the Yale University Forestry School some years ago…he’s now a professor at North Arizona State) and Joe Beeler and his son Jody. Joe was at the Duncan birthday party in Denver that I played during the October break. He’s an amazing artist, specializing in cowboy scenes and bronzes.
They all showed up and I took Joe and Jody back to meet Ronnie Wood. I figured that they would like that, both being artists. Indeed they had a nice short chat and Joe gave Ronnie one of his beautiful coffee table books (he had given me one earlier) that featured his art as well as being
Another good show, so we’re back on an upswing. After the gig Jeff came down to our room and hung out for a while. Since he helps with our website, we talked about some issues related to that as well as other subjects. A pretty late night, we got to bed around 3 am.
Our last off day without having to travel before the Holiday break. Blessed with a sunny day, to boot! I went to the fitness center for a good workout before donning my swimming trunks and going to lay out in the sun by the pool. I had thought that Las Vegas would be the last opportunity to get sun, but with temps in the mid 70’s, this offered another chance. I took with me my iPod and a few other goodies….Rose Lane had made an appointment to get her hair colored so I was on my own. I keyed up Keith Jarrett on the iPod and listened for a good hour and a half while soaked up the Arizona sunshine. Glorious! These off days are rare on this tour, and it was wonderful to have time like this. The sun was lost behind one of the buildings by around 4pm and I went back up to fool around on the computer and get showered and dressed. We had discussed sending one more box of clothes and other items back home….as our suitcases were overflowing…so I unpacked all my cases and decided on what to keep and what to send back. By then it was time to sort out dinner plans. As we were a long way from restaurants outside the resort, we decided on The Terrace, another of the hotel restaurants. We did the same as the night before, ordering drinks in the bar before taking our table. Blondie Chaplin wandered in and joined us for a while, and after he left we were seated for dinner. I had a chicken
pasta dish and Rose Lane opted for a steak. Fairly nice, if overpriced.
Back in our room I pulled out the mandolin for a while, surfed the channels on TV and finally gave in to the sandman.
Sean and I had agreed to do the CNN interview at 1pm at Washington Park, about a 10 minute ride from the hotel. He, Rachael and his cameraman picked me up at 12:45 to go there. He made some nice comments on the show on the way to the park. We got there a little ahead of schedule and scouted around for a good spot to do the interview, settling on an area near some Colorado Blue Spruce trees. It went fine…short and sweet…concentrating on the new children’s book but also getting in a little bit on Southscape and Charlane Plantation. Afterwards we chatted about things in general…Sean is about to move to New Orleans at the bequest of CNN. He’s been living in Denver for a couple of years and likes it a lot…but as CNN is closing the Denver bureau, they have assigned him to New Orleans where a new bureau is being set up. He had some trepidation about the move, but is going along with it. Seems he’ll be doing this pretty soon…certainly by the first of the year.
They drove me back to the hotel and dropped me off. I went up to the room where Ash and Rose Lane were waiting. They had walked around a little and had some lunch…Ash had a flight to New York where she is attending an event related to her new job with the Invisalign company. Of course she is very excited about this…her first work with them. We said our goodbyes and headed out for our departures.
We got into Phoenix without incident at the usual evening time. We were booked into the Phonecian Resort Hotel, a huge place in Scottsdale. After getting our package with our keys and usual local info from Courtney Rousso, Rosie and I were taken to our room in a secondary building via a golf cart.
We had a nice large room with a small patio overlooking one of the many swimming pools on the resort. We relaxed a while and decided on one of the restaurants…the Tavern on the Green, which featured southwestern fare. It was pretty quiet in the restaurant…not many people about. There was a nice room just past the bar that had some comfy sofas and a fireplace in it, so we ordered cocktails and sat in there for a while before going to our table. It proved to be a nice dinner, and afterwards we went back to our room to unpack and unwind.
This is the first time I can ever remember doing a show on Thanksgiving….I’ve certainly been on tour during Thanksgiving many times, but can’t remember doing a show on the day. No matter, it’s good to be working and Denver is a great place to be. I had a look at the set list from the last tour…we played the same venue, The Pepsi Center, on the Forty Licks tour. So I wrote up the set list to keep it different from last time. I went down to the venue early…with Sean Calebs and his friend Rachael. I needed to get them passes for the show and also wanted to show them around the stage and backstage areas. We took a cab there as the early van was full. I gave Sean and Rachel the “tour” and got their passes fixed up…and we went to the Rattlesnake Inn for a short time. They left to go do their family Thanksgiving thing and I settled in to my dressing room to do a bit of practicing. There was no sound check, so I messed around on the piano for a while and relaxed a bit. Jake Cohl has asked a few of us (me, Darryl and Lisa) to do a short interview for the Stones website, so when he was ready I went to the stage and we got that done. In the middle of it Ashley showed up. After that was over Ash and I walked around the venue…she wanted to say hello to some more of the crew members that she had made friends with when she worked on the last tour…the European leg of the Forty Licks tour. We found “Pyro” Pete, the man in charge of the pyro technics and other special effects and spoke to him for a while. It wasn’t all that long before Rose Lane and the rest of the folks arrived on the late bus. Sean and Rachael made it back about the same time and we all hung out in the Rattlesnake Inn for a while …the catering folks had of course arranged the usual Thanksgiving fare…turkey, dressing and all the trimmings. But it’s not a great idea to eat so much before a show, so I went light on the food. Soon it was time for me to go to wardrobe and get dressed for the gig. It turned out to be a much better gig than we had in Salt Lake City… we got back on track and rocked the house.
We managed to pack in a little more shopping before our departure for Denver. I bought a couple of shirts from the men’s store in the hotel, and Rose Lane bought a really nice walking cane for her mom in one of the women’s stores. We did final packing and ate lunch in the hotel restaurant.
At the usual time, 3pm, we loaded up in the bus to head for the airport. I had made arrangements to do an interview for CNN in Denver some time during our stay there with my old friend Sean Calebs. So I gave him a call before we lifted off to discuss when we would do it and also to make arrangements for him and his friend Rachel to come to the show the next day. We decided to do the interview on Friday instead of trying to do it on show day.
We arrived in Denver at the Westin Tabor Center hotel about 6. After settling in our rooms we investigated dinner options and decided that we wanted some good simple grilled food, and there was a Capitol Grill not too far from the hotel. We made reservations for 8 o’clock and had a little time to kill. Tim Ries had arranged to play a club gig in Denver … at a place called Dazzle Jazz. He had asked us to come if we were so inclined … he had two shows … one at 8 and one at 10. Ashley was meeting some friends after dinner and opted out, but Rose Lane and I decided we would make the late show. So the three of us went to the Capitol Grill and had a nice dinner…then we dropped Ashley off at the hotel to meet her friends and headed to the club. Tim had found some good musicians to back him up…a bass player, drummer and guitar player that he had never worked with before, but he had sent some charts and a CD for them to work up the
tunes. Michael Davis and Kent Smith were to sit in, as was Bernard Fowler. When I arrived Tim asked me if I’d like to play and I said sure. Ronnie and Jo Wood had come as well, but Ronnie didn’t sit in … just was there to listen and support Tim. Michael and Lori Cohl and their son Liam also came.
It proved to be a really good time and a success for Tim. It’s a relatively small club, seating about 150 or so, but both shows were totally sold out. I sat in on Honky Tonk Women and at the end on Slipping Away. Tim did songs from his new CD, The Rolling Stones Project, so they were all Stones songs. We all hung out for a while afterwards….then Rose Lane and I caught a cab to go back to the hotel about midnight. Great fun!
Show day for SLC. The band had arranged to broadcast two songs live for the American Music Awards show. Mick called me to discuss the tunes, and we decided on Rain Fall Down (as they are currently pushing that for radio play) and It’s Only Rock and Roll. Ed Cherney had come in to do the mixing
for the broadcast. I did my workout and went to the gig early to check it out and get prepared. The band showed up for the sound check around 4 or so, and we went through the motions. All seemed fine and Ed was happy to have a long sound check to get things going. I made up the rest of the list for the night and went to see Mick for his approval. I had put the two songs back to back … numbers 5 and 6. This made good sense for the broadcast…we had calculated the timing and it all looked workable. I had put the songs after Tumbling Dice knowing that we could either cut short or
extend the ending as necessary to help with the timing. We were to broadcast at 8:45. The show started out fine…but when we got to the first broadcast tune…Rain Fall Down…and I counted it in, Mick’s guitar was pretty out of
tune. Ouch! This caused some confusion and he wound up coming in at an odd place for the chorus. It really wasn’t all that bad, but I’m sure we all wish it had gone more smoothly…the next song, Only Rock and Roll, sounded
fine. I had some people that saw the show say that they thought it came off very well, and a few that said they could tell something was a little strange on the first song. At the end of the day, I’m sure it was all right.
I read several reviews about the broadcast the next day and none of them mentioned any problem, so it turned out ok.
As it turned out, we did see Ashley before we turned in. She stayed up to see us before we went to bed. So great to see her, and she looks great. We stayed up for about 30 or 40 minutes talking before the sandman got us all. We slept in until about 10:30. The Grand American hotel is quite a nice place. Beautiful lobby and rooms, with several cool shops scattered throughout the facility. Since this was a day off, we decided to rent a car to get around a bit. We had talked about going to Park City or somewhere a little out of town just to get closer to the mountains and explore…but as it turned out we didn’t really have the time. We ate lunch at the Market Street Grill, which was about a four or five block walk from the hotel, and by the time we got back it was after 2 pm. So we decided to go do some shopping instead. Ashley had expressed a desire to look at some cowboy boots, and we were all game for checking out a western store. The concierge directed us to the A. A. Callister Co., a large western store about 10 miles away. We also got directions to a couple of other shopping areas. We went to Callister’s first. While Ashley didn’t see any boots that fit the bill…’ol dad did! I wound up with a nice pair of black Ostrich boots. Very tough and durable. My old pair of lizard skin boots had worn out and I needed something to replace them. I also bought a couple of pair of Wrangler jeans…a dark green pair and a dark brown pair. The girls did manage to find a few other trinkets for Christmas presents, and we checked out after being there for a good solid hour. I had all the stuff shipped home, as our suitcases are bulging at the seams. We moved on to a mall that the concierge had told us about, and the girls shopped at Nordstrom’s and some other stores but didn’t find anything. We made our way to a third mall, back towards downtown, and there Rose Lane found a pair of boots she liked and Ashley bought a pair of earrings. By then we were ready to get back to the hotel and take a break.
Marcie, our concierge, had suggested a Japanese restaurant called Takahashi for dinner. We made the reservation for 9 and drove over. We saw Bernard Fowler and Donna Whorley (assistant to Ronnie Wood who sometimes comes out on tour) there. Bernard suggested the Black Cod as they had already eaten. We took his suggestion and also ordered several other dishes, all of which were great. It topped off a fun day, and we all had a good time together.