SYNCLESS IN SEATTLE
Even with the early rise I made myself hit the fitness room again. I wanted to have a longer workout, but at least I got a good 45 minutes in. Rose Lane dealt with the items we wanted to send back home and got a box from the bellman to put it all in. She had bought a new computer handbag at the Apple store and wanted to send her old briefcase along with some of our clothes, paperwork and other fluff back to Georgia. With that done we didn’t have much time before our departure to Midway Airport. She checked us out of the hotel and we went outside to feel the “hawk” of Chicago one more time walking to the bus. It ain’t called the Windy City for nothing!
Our flight would be a long 4 1/2 hours….but that was good in a way, as it gave me time to write in this journal and to deal with my speech…as well as some time to review the Rio and Saitama shows that Lisa Portman, Mick’s assistant, had gotten to me a couple of days ago. Having dealt with these things, we arrived in Seattle, loaded up on the bus and headed to the Fairmont Hotel. We had been here last year on the tour, playing at the Key Arena.
It was almost a year to the date…just a week or two short. This time we would be playing at Qwest stadium, where the Seattle Seahawks play. But it would be several days before we’d get to that. Being on one of our “mini breaks”, Rose Lane and I had a little time to ourselves. Of course we have the AFF fundraiser coming up the day before the Stones gig, and I would be working some more on my presentation as well as rehearsing the band that will play with me there. Still, there would be some down time for us here.
We settled in to the Fairmont, feeling the familiar surroundings. We were slightly weary from the travel and decided not to go out, but to have dinner at Shuckers, which is a seafood restaurant on the lower level of the hotel where some shops were. Going down there reminded us of when we were here a year ago and bought Rose Lane’s evening gown at Luly Yang’s, a designer boutique on the same level. This was the gown she wore when we had dinner at the White House in honor of Prince Charles and Camilla. We enjoyed the fare at Shuckers and remained about the White House experience and how hectic it was…finding the gown at the last minute in Seattle, going to Portland, Oregon the next day and from there to Washington, DC for the dinner only to get up the next morning and fly to LA. Whew!
Had a nice little work out after morning coffee, and then Rosie and I went down to the famous Pike Place Market on Seattle Sound. This is a wonderful market…lots of fish venders, flower venders, trinket shops of all types and some restaurants as well.
We had lunch at the Sound View, which as the name implies offers a nice view of the water. It was typical Seattle weather…damp and a little drizzly, and it had rained earlier…but now it was just that moist humid crisp feeling. After lunch we walked through the market and took in all the sights and sounds of Pike’s. Rose Lane saw some flowers that she wanted…a nice bouquet that was placed in a pumpkin that had been hollowed out. As I wanted to work some more on my speech, I left her there and took the flowers with me back to the hotel. There I dove into the speech I had written, editing it and trying it out a couple of times. We were to have a rehearsal later that afternoon…with Matt Jorgenson (the drummer that Tim Ries had suggested) and Myles Corbin (bass player that Matt had suggested). But I had a little time before Myles was to pick me up. Rosie got back to the room and we went out again for a short walk, poking our heads in to a few shops. Finally it was getting close to the time for Myles to pick me up and we walked back. Rose Lane went up to the room and I waited down in the lower lobby for Myles. He showed up and found me…us meeting for the first time. He drove us to the home studio of a fellow named Chris ?? who was to play guitar with Tim Ries on a club show the night after our AFF luncheon gig. There at Chris’ house I met Matt for the first time…and after a quick setup we started our rehearsal. Matt and Myles proved to be excellent musicians and had done their homework on the songs I had sent them, making for an easy run through. We finished up after about two hours and Myles drove me back to the hotel. On the way, he pointed out a restaurant that he said was really good…and it wasn’t far from the hotel. It’s called Wild Ginger. I took note for our dinner plans.
Back in the room Rose Lane and I fooled around with emails and talked a while, and I called the concierge to check on Wild Ginger. I was told that it might be tight, but that they would take us at 8:30. We decided to go down early and have a drink in their bar, and left the hotel around 7:45. We were lucky that they had a table ready, so we took it and settled in for an amazing dinner. Wild Ginger is sort of an Asian fusion place, but with it’s own unique flair. We started with some lettuce wraps for starters that were very tasty. The main courses were full of flavors that included lime, coconut and of course ginger…and they were perfectly blended in the haddock that I ordered, and the mango chicken?? that Rose Lane had was also a great dish.
We finished up there and walked back to the Fairmont, making for a needed early night.
I’ve had to back off the weight routine due to a sore shoulder, but managed to get in some treadmill time after our hour wake up routine. Then Rosie and I went out to explore some more of downtown Seattle. Again, the weather was typical of the city…threatening rain with a few sprinkles here and there, cloudy and damp. But it didn’t really pour, so while we took an umbrella from the doorman of the hotel, we never really used it. I was halfheartedly looking for a fancy pink shirt to go with my Ralph Lauren western jacket…and we looked in every men’s store we could find but never saw anything appropriate, so we gave that up. In the search, we had lunch inside one of the malls at a food court…some Indian food. I had the tandoori chicken and Rose Land had some other dish. Then we investigated the mall, not finding anything terribly interesting. We messed around downtown a bit longer, and then I went back to the room to run through my speech a final time or two, making some last minute edits.
We are to have dinner with some of the AFF folks tonight at a place called Brassa. So we took some down time in the room before the hour came for us to go. We were the first ones to get to Brassa, but shortly afterwards Colin Mosley, a fellow Trustee of AFF and his wife Martha arrived. We ordered drinks and just as they came all the other folks came in. There was Larry Wiseman, president of AFF, Pamela Rockland and Vanessa Bullwinkle, two of the staff members and Bob Simpson, president of ATFS (American Tree Farm System) that is one of the programs run by AFF. We all had a nice time talking about the event for the next day, and the general state of AFF (which is very good at the moment) and other matters related to family forestry and conservation.
That wrapped up the day, and Colin and Martha were kind enough to give us a ride back to the hotel. There we shut things down, getting ready for tomorrow’s event.
I had to get up at 8:15 to get ready to go to the Bell Harbor convention center for a sound check and quick final rehearsal. Tim Ries wanted to go with me, so we met in the lobby at about 9:15 and took a cab to the center. We found our way to the room…seeing Larry and the others in the process. They had done a great job with the setup…nice big posters that depicted the programs AFF is responsible for, a video of some of the ATFS field days and such. Matt and Myles were already there setting up their equipment. The piano tuner was finishing up, so while we had to wait on him I found some coffee and a muffin to get myself going. Soon we convened on the stage and went through the rehearsal, working on the sound in the process. They had provided me with a Petrov piano…about a 6′10′’ model…which was nice and bright sounding.
The guys were well prepared and we breezed through the six or seven tunes I had selected. At the end of the rehearsal, folks had begun to show up. I think the final count was something like 220 attending, which filled the room we were in nicely. The AFF staff had bought a few boxes of my children’s book The Tree Farmer, and had put them on the tables as part of the decoration. We all got settled and Larry got up to welcome everyone and announce that lunch would be served. Rose Lane and I were sitting with Penn Seigle, who is the outgoing chairman of our Trustee group, Larry Wiseman, Pam Rockland and a few others.
We chatted through the lunch for about 45 minutes, and then Colin took the stage to do a second welcome to the group and to introduce me. I took the stage on my own first…delivering my speech, just short of 20 minutes. Mainly I talked about my and Rose Lane’s history…how we got into being Tree Farmers, the heritage of stewardship that goes so deep in her family…and how we found the ATFS and were eventually certified Charlane Plantation as an official Tree Farm, and how we have depended on and learned so much from AFF through the years. I also talked about the virtues of the other two main programs run by AFF…Project Learning Tree and Forests for Watersheds and Wildlife. It seemed to go well, and at the end I called up the band. We wound up doing six songs…”In The Night”; an old Professor Longhair New Orleans tune, “Route 66″, “Alberta, Alberta”…two songs off of Southscape, “Tomato Jam” and “Savannah”, ending with Honky Tonk Women. I felt good about the performance…the guys played brilliantly. I was pleased and surprised to get a standing ovation after “Savannah”…very moving. We had a couple of other songs worked up, but ending with Honky Tonk seemed to work well and we had played a good 40 minutes or so.
After that we had a few raffle drawings for Stones tickets to draw, and announced the auction on eBay of a Gretsch guitar that has been signed by the band as well as two tickets to the Oct 31 Beacon Theater show in NY. Then final thanks were given and the party broke up. I went to a side room to sign some books and CDs, which lasted for about 30 minutes. That wrapped it up.
All in all the event was a total success…and I think we raised upwards of $150,000. A great thing for AFF and its programs…and a great thing for sustainable forestry and the environment in our country.
After the event we had an emergency meeting of the Trustees in a separate room in the convention center. There were about six of us there in person, and another six or so on a conference call with us. The main topic of discussion was to sort out plans for the recent endowment of $150 million dollars coming from the US/Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement. This is an incredible time for AFF, and will allow us to do so much good for America’s family forests and for the education of our young people on environmental issues…and will also help so many timber dependent communities. Just fabulous!
We said our goodbyes to everyone and Colin gave Rose Lane and me a ride back to the hotel. There we decompressed for a bit. I had a package that had come from home….which was a Palm Treo 700p phone that was given to me by Iris Goldschmidt, a woman that I met in Reno when Rose Lane and I was there for the HMS Host event. Iris had kindly offered to send me the phone, as mine was so old and outdated. She runs a company called Airport Wireless and has a few stores that sell Palm devices in airports. So I was all excited about my new toy and began to try to figure it out. One of the features is that it will “sync” up with the address book in a computer, making it easy to get all the phone numbers and email address into it. I tried my hand at making that work, but after a couple of hours of error messages and failed attempts, I gave it up. Syncless in Seattle. But I vowed to try again!
Tim had invited us to come to his club show in the evening at Tula’s
and suggested we make the second set that started at 10pm. His first set was at 8. So we made our way down to the club a little early…just after 9…and Tim was still playing. The show was sold out and they couldn’t allow us in, so we went around the corner to a place called the Flying Fish to have a glass of wine and some hors d’ourves to kill time. That was just right, and we were back at the club just before 10. Tim asked me about sitting in later and I told him of course I’d love to. As usual for Tim’s club shows there were lots of Stones fans there…mostly from the “Shidoobe” fan club. My tech Will Alexander was there as well as was a handful of the AFF folks. Tim and co. played a really great set, and he invited me up for two songs…Honky Tonk Women and Ruby Tuesday. The latter was played with just me and Tim with Bernard Fowler singing. Michael Davis was there as well…as he has been for most all of Tim’s shows. I can’t say enough about Tim’s talent…and of course Bernard’s…he sang beautifully on all the songs he performed that night. Michael tore it up, too…and is without a doubt the best trombone player in the world today…at least in my humble opinion. Amazing musician.
Tim has worked incredibly hard on these club shows…putting together the bands, booking the dates and making it all happen. This was something like his 30th set of these type shows since the beginning of the Bigger Bang tour. He was gracious to all the guys playing with him, thanking them and complimenting them on their musicianship. A fun night!
We stayed for a little while after he finished, eventually making it back to the hotel near 1am. This finished out a truly wonderful day, and I was grateful that all had gone so well.
Back to the “office”! It’s been nice to have a few days off…and even though we had the AFF gig going on, we were doing something different and now when we get back to focusing on the Stones, we will have somewhat of a new perspective. After our normal daily routine I went on the early van to the show to set about my set list work and to practice some. I also wanted to get one of our computer techs to help me with the new Treo phone…and try to get the sync function to work. I had tried it again earlier in the day, but had again failed. So I reached Cory (one of our tour technical personnel) and asked him to come see about it. I showed him what I was trying to do…and he said to leave it to him…which I was glad to do!
Then I turned my attention to the set list. I reviewed the show we did here a year ago at the Key arena and made sure we did some different tunes. Mick and I have also met a couple of times about the Austin and Beacon shows…. and have pretty much closed in on what we want to do in Austin. The Beacon is also getting closer, but until we get into rehearsals in NY and try some things out we won’t be able to finalize the sets. But for now I was just concerned with the Seattle show and wrote it up, presenting it to Mick and gaining his approval. We would have quite a few guests in the Rattlesnake…Colin Mosely and his family (total of five), Marshall McReal (friend of John DuPree’s that works for Goldman Sachs) and his friend, Tom Knudeson (Nobel prize winning environmental journalist from the Sacramento Bee and a good friend…who had come to the AFF event the day before) and his friends. I went to greet them all and was able to take Colin and his family on a quick tour backstage. They were very appreciative…especially for letting their son Will and his friend Jack and their daughter Ellie having the experience. I gave them some guitar pics and copies of the night’s set list as souvenirs, and they liked that.
Back in my dressing room I saw that Cory had been successful with the sync function from my Mac Powerbook to my new Palm Treo…the Treo was all loaded up with all my phone numbers, addresses and email addresses. Ah, it’s so great when the technology works!
Then it was time to get down to biz. The show reflected the fact that we’d been off for a short time…meaning that we all had a fresh feeling and it went really well. The Seattle audience gave us inspiration and encouragement…and it felt great to get back in the saddle!
Our final full day off in Seattle. We had talked about renting a car and driving out of the city for a bit…but the weather wasn’t really great for that and we decided just to have a day of rest and relaxation. I booked a massage for 6:30 and we just killed the day by another lunch at Shucker’s and a final walk around the area. My massage was great…a petite young lady named Shara (I think that’s right) that had some very strong hands rubbed out the stress and afterwards I was really relaxed and feeling good. We did dinner at a nice spot called The Dahlia Lounge that chef Tom Douglas offered what he called Pacific Rim cuisine. Excellent food and fine wine topped off our Seattle experience. We went back and did our packing for the next day’s travel to El Paso. This last week has really been an interesting, fun and fruitful one and I’m grateful that it all went so well.