Monday, February 2, 2009

On the road w/ Paul Collins: Chicago. Fri., Jan. 30th

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Dateline:  Chicago.

We just rocked the house big time! This is our second sold out show on the tour! We sold out Milwaukee last night and tonight in Chicago! The tour is starting to turn into a unstoppable power pop train ride to heaven!

Lets pick up our story 8 a.m. in Memphis Tennessee, Tuesday morning. I had gone to bed a t 3:30 a.m. and it was raining steadily,but by 8 a.m. when I woke up, the town was covered in snow and ice. That was just the beginning of what was going to turn out to be one of the longest days on the road that I have had in quite sometime. I went and had a cup of Joe at Dino's down the street as the boys were still sound asleep. By the time I got back Warren was whipping up a batch of ginger tea, our tonic for the troops.  Just as he was about to serve the brew I heard a crash, and an "Oh Shit!" All I could see was someone's feet but I knew it wasn't good, I rushed into the kitchen and there was Dave laid out like a corpse, he was white as sheet, and he looked awful. He was running a high fever and it looked like he was going down the same road that Jesse had gone down the day before in Atlanta. We decided we had to forge on at all costs and hoped that Dave would get better on the, what we thought at the time was going to be a 7-hour drive. No sooner then we left town we got lost. We were heading down 45 the wrong way, we pulled over for directions and a good ol' boy told us that if we just kept heading down 45 we could pick up 54 and then 231 which would bring us back to 465 and then we could pick up 70 into Bloomington.

The roads were hellacious, frozen over and the ice storm had coated all the trees in ice and thousands of them had crashed to the ground under the weight. Some of them were even on the road. At times we were going 20 miles an hour through snow and ice. It took us 10 hours of grueling driving to finally crawl into Bloomington and Bear's Place. Unfortunately Dave had not gotten better. In fact he was worse. Now we had a real rock n' roll crisis on our hands.

We had driven all day to get to the club and we had to decide whether or not we should play. It took me all of 3 seconds to know what we had to do. There is an old proverb, "the show must go on!" I told Jesse that we can do this, he trusted me and we set up. Tonight we would just put up a snare and a high hat and put on a completely different kind of show. We had a good crowd for a Wednesday night in snow-bound Bloomington. The show was a big success and we just combined The Gentleman Jesse and the Paul Collins Beat show into one long free wheeling set. We even did a live radio interview with the Ripple Effect in California. I played drums for Jesse, something I had not done in years and Adrian played drums for the first time ever for me, his first song as a drummer was "Hanging on the Telephone!" People loved it and we had the whole room screaming for the radio in California. It was one hell of a long day but we had pulled it off!

Not be left out Dave spent the whole show lying in a booth stage side. We packed up our gear and headed over to Pete's house where we would spend the night. We were exhausted but happy we had done what we set out to do. I have never done a show quite like it, but it felt good to know that nothing was going to keep us from our mission.

The next morning we pushed the van out of the snow and onto the road and blew town. After a stop at Bob Evans for a home-style breakfast and quick shopping spree at K-Mart so Dave, who now was up to about 80 %, could buy a winter coat, we made tracks for Milwaukee, home of Pabst Blue Ribbon. It was a long drive but the roads were clear so we had no trouble getting there. Everyone was feeling good and it seemed like tonight was going to be the first real night on the tour because both Dave and Jesse were feeling more like their old selves again.

We made a pitt stop at Eric's where we were staying and chilled for a bit before going to the club. Tonight the Flips were playing, an all girl group from Milwaukee making there debut performance, so anticipation was high on our end. We met them at sound check and they seemed very cool indeed. The club was great and it had a decent stage so all we needed was people. By the time The Flips hit the stage the place was pretty much packed and it stayed that way all through the night, they even had to turn people away at the door!

The Flips were fantastic, they are cute as the dickens and those girls really know how to write a song, I was very impressed! Gentleman Jesse and his Men tore the place up, too. They had the crowd jumping up and down and singing along with the band. I thought they sounded great and I was so happy we were on tour together. Then it was my turn and we tore through our set to a thunderous finale with "Walking Out On Love," and the whole place was just going nuts! It has become sort of a tour tradition that we bring girls on stage to dance with us on "Look But Don't Touch," and tonight we had the Flips on stage with us, strutting their stuff... A good time was had by all! Its 5:30 a.m. and I have got to get some sleep in the windy city...

To be continued.

See More videos of both Gentleman Jesse and the Paul Collins Beat's performances in Milwaukee.

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(Photos by Andy Junk)

(Video courtesy of blip.tv)

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