Up and after coffee, hit the very small gym at the Radisson. We had all been worried about the weather for the show…originally rain was predicted with very cold temps. But at least for today, it looked like we’d be lucky. It was actually a beautiful fall day. Looking out the window of the hotel, there is a nice park right across the street from us. The leaves of the trees had changed into their bright colors…one in particular was a sparkling yellow…beautiful. Rosie and I had lunch in the hotel, and then took a walk up the street to a big shopping mall. Everywhere you looked there was something about the Stones…. signs in all the stores, banners everywhere, and Stones songs pumping out doorways. The local paper had a huge section dedicated to the band…with pictures of our arrival and a history of the band, what to expect at the concert and so on. It was definitely Stones Mania!
After a time I headed back tot he hotel and prepared to go on the early van to the show.
Knowing that this is the first time the band has played here, I drew up a fairly predictable “greatest hits” sort of set for tonight’s show…and that would give us a chance to mix it up for the second show here two days from now.
We don’t really know anyone in Regina…except for a nice person named Shelly Lafluer who had hit us on our website a month or two earlier, telling us about a program for kids that she is involved in called Ecoquest. It’s quite an interesting and admirable program that gets school children out into the woods and nature as part of their education. Shelly also spins discs at a jazz station in the area and had asked me about playing some of my music on her program. So I arranged for a couple of Rattlesnake Inn passes for her and met her backstage. We had a short chat and I gave her my Southscape CD, which she promised to get on the air soon.
The show turned out great…and the weather cooperated with us…it was a little “crisp”, but not at all uncomfortable. The fans were great…they sang along, roared their approval of the songs and had a big ‘ol time. Mick always finds something funny or interesting to say about every city we’re in. and at one point in the show he acknowledged to the audience that this was the first time we’d ever played here…said how happy we were to be in town and then said…”Regina…. it rhymes with…FUN!” Of course that got a good laugh…
The venue was very close to the hotel, so it was a short ride to get back after the gig. Rose Lane and I made a soft landing, deciding to stay in our room, sip on some wine and watch TV for a while before retiring.
The next day was a day off, and there was a party planned for the evening. This was put on by our Production Crew and would be a “Wig Party”. The location had not been decided as of last night, but we would find out about that later. In the meantime, the weather had taken a turn for the worse, with some colder temps and wind swishing about. After the usual “morning routine”, we thought we’d at least poke our heads out to see what it was like…and immediately came back inside, as it was pretty rough. So we stayed in for lunch again and killed time in our room on our computers. I was to meet with Mick later in the evening to discuss the Austin, TX and NY Beacon Theater show set lists, so I spent quite a lot of time preparing for that. I went over all my lists…and a wad of lists that Michael Cohl had passed on to me. One was basically all the DVD or VHS releases the band has ever done…another had a list of songs that the band has never performed live, and another had a list of songs that had rarely ever been performed or filmed. I poured over all of this while Rose Lane went out to the hotel spa for a manicure and pedicure. In the meantime, Tim Ries called me and invited us out to dinner with him. He said he had met the Mayor of Regina at the show and asked him what the best restaurant in town was…and got the name of an Italian place. So we accepted his invitation, telling him that I was to meet with Mick for an hour or so at 7 and suggest we target 8 or 8:30 for dinner.
I went in to see Mick at 7, and we looked at all the lists we’d made and discussed the situation. There is talk about a package that will include some shows we’ve already done on the tour and adding Austin to the package. Then of course Martin Scorsese will film the Beacon shows for a separate release…so we had a lot to go over. I presented him with a second draft for both Austin and the Beacon, and he seemed to be pretty happy with it, but still wanted to look at some more options. In any case we’re making progress and I think we’ll settle on something solid soon.
Rosie and I went down to the bar and had a drink while we waited on Tim to meet us…and one of the folks that has been with us out on tour for a while named Woody Glessman a friend of Ronnie Wood sat with us. Tim showed up soon and we invited Woody to go with us to dinner. So the four of us headed out together. The folks at the restaurant, which was called Casa Italia, were all ready for us and seated us at a nice table. Our waiter was very accommodating…and said something about how “Mama” was excited about us being there. We asked if his mom was the chef, and he replied yes, and would we like to meet her? So we walked back to the kitchen and met her…seeing that she was surrounded by all manner of pots, pans, sauces and spices and was hard at work. We took a couple of pictures with her and went back to our table.
The food was quite good…if a bit rich…but we all enjoyed the experience and the company.
We called for a cab to take us back to the hotel after dinner. In the lobby there were some of our folks getting ready to go to the party. Rose Lane and I had not been able to go out and look for any wigs, but one of the hostesses from our private plane had an extra one and gave it to Rosie. There were some vans waiting to shuttle us back and forth the party, so we loaded up in one and headed to the place, a club called ?? We weren’t sure about how this thing would turn out, but figured we’d go see about it for a while anyway.
We were in for a surprise!!!!
We arrived and walked in…of course there was music playing and a good many folks had already showed up.
As we mingled around we saw the hilarious wigs that people had come in…it really was fun and we had a blast going around, taking pictures and just howling at some of the really good ones. We were so glad we had decided to come!
I never did get a wig, but Tim Ries had managed to get one and gave me his pork pie hat, which I wore for the night. Rosie and I had a couple of drinks, danced on the dance floor and talked with whomever we ran into. We stayed for about an hour or a little more, and decided to head back. It had been a great time, and a nice opportunity to share some fun with our wonderful crew folks.
On the second show day, the weather continued to be unfavorable. It was raining most of the day and the temps dropped even more. I felt bad for the crew, having had such a wonderful party only to have to wake up to dealing with some rough weather at the venue. After my workout I took the early van to the show. As there was no good place on the interior to set up our backstage area, they had set up a few tents for us. That worked out fine for the first show, but today with all the rain, the water had run under the tents onto the temporary carpeting that was set up, creating quite a mess. But as always, our team dealt with it admirably, keeping everything as dry and as comfortable as possible. I did the set list, adding in some different tunes from the previous show, and presented it to Mick. He suggested a couple of changes and we settled on the final and turned it in for printing. Backstage, I had arranged for a few passes for Shelly’s sister and her family that were coming and went to meet them. They had two young boys with them, and I went and scored a few copies of the set list as well as some guitar picks to give to them. The rain finally subsided by the time we went on, thank heaven….but that didn’t help the temperature, which was about 35 degrees. In spite of that, we made a good presentation and the fans were again totally with us all the way.
Mick made another funny remark during the show…saying something to the effect of …”…we are so pleased to be here for our second show in Regina…and I want to apologize for any silly remarks I made on the first show about what rhymes with the name of this city…I promise not to make any more comments like that…I certainly don’t want to offend any of the fine folks from here. (nice pause and then…) I just hope that doesn’t make me a pussy!”
Back at the hotel we turned in our clothes to the wardrobe and then attended to our packing for the travel the next day. We have seen our bags swell lately with some purchases and some things given to us, so we planned on sending a box home when we were in Chicago, our next city to visit. We packed up everything but our carryon bags and set the suitcases near the front door for Spin to pick up the next day…then put ourselves to bed.
In the morning we poured some coffee in us and dealt with the usual hour or so of emails. I had a nice one from Steve Graham. Steve is in television production and is one of my partners in an effort to land a TV series that we call “Love of The Land”. During our last break at home we had shot a demo explaining what the show would be and also shot a couple of short snippets of stories that would give an example of the show. Steve had finished the final editing for it and had emailed me to say that he’s now ready to start pursuing potential sponsors for the show. We have a good list of contacts that include companies like Wal-Mart, GM, Bass Pro and others. So now we have something to show these folks and we’ll see what kind of reaction we get. Since we’ll be out in LA soon and will base there for some of our shows, I’m hoping that we may be able to meet with some potential sponsors in person there. We may also be able to work in some meetings in NY. I have no idea how our demo will be received, but I think we’ve put together a pretty smart package and we’re ready to roll with it. Now, with a bit of luck…..!
Finishing up our communications, we went to the club lounge on the second floor. While we’d been told that there was a club lounge there, we had both forgotten about it and not used it until now. We entered it to see it was totally deserted, but there was a coffee machine and some food items about. I made a bowl of cereal and Rosie found something to her liking and we sat for a while reading the paper and sipping coffee. Then it was time to travel. On the plane I started working on my speech for the American Forest Foundation fund raising event next Monday in Seattle. That kept me busy for most of the flight.
This will be our third trip to Chicago on the tour. We’ve played one show at Soldier Field early in the tour last year and two shows at the United Center this year in late Jan and early Feb. This time we would not stay at our usual hotel, The Ritz Carlton…as they were booked up and couldn’t accommodate us. So we would be trying out a new hotel, the Peninsula, which is sort of around the corner from the Ritz on Superior St. near Michigan Av. We arrived there in the late afternoon, about 5pm and checked in. It’s quite a nice hotel…very modern with a lot of class. Our room was a gracious size with doors separating the bedroom from the sitting room, which we don’t get at the Ritz. So we settled in to our new Chicago digs. Our message light was on, and I called to see about it. We had a couple of packages waiting on us, and I had them sent up. One was a beautiful bottle of wine sent to us from our friend Dave Schumann. It was a bottle of Lynch Bages, one of the finest cabernets known to man. I had arranged for a couple of passes for him and this was his thank you. Very nice! The other was a magazine sent by a friend of Herren and Susan Hickingbotham. On the cover was a great picture of Herren and on the inside was an article about a fund raising event he had chaired on behalf of music education in Little Rock, Ark. There were also some wonderful pictures of Herren with their beautiful two children, Hayden and Christian.
I had some calls to make before dinner…. mainly to Larry Wiseman of the AFF to alert him I was sending a copy of my speech to him to review. So after sharing the news of this phone call with Rosie, we went down to celebrate with a cocktail and to decide on dinner. Chicago was it’s usual windy and cold self…even flirting with record low temperatures…so we decided to stay in and try out one of the hotel restaurants, called the Lobby Restaurant. It was fine, and we enjoyed the meal, some nice wine and talked about the good news of the endowments.
We ran into our friend Scott Jones who had come to see the show, and talked to him briefly, inviting him to the Seattle fundraiser. By then we were tired and went back to the room to visit dreamland.