What a crazy weekend, physically AND emotionally.
I'll start with the good. Ventured out to the Steel Bridge Songfest in Sturgeon Bay, WI, where I performed a few of the songs I wrote there the previous year. The fellow songwriters that I was involved with were all truly talented and even magical artists. So here's the thing, they've put out a 2-cd compilation of those songs for Steel Bridge. You'd be wise to pick one up. Now, I know...compilations can be a sketchy promise, at best. I'm usually if not always weary of them. So I'd be hard-pressed to recommend one fully. But, yet here I am about to do JUST THAT. This compilation has some INCREDIBLE songs. Obviously I am more attached having been there during their writing process, but you should check them out. K?
Go here for that.
Saturday night was the "big" show on the main stage, featuring Jackson Browne. Jackson has been great about lending his name and time to the cause and supporting this festival. Not to mention the fact that he is an amazing performer as well. The show ended around 10:30pm, with about 100 of us on stage singing the final song. It was somewhere during that song that I was convinced the stage was about to collapse. But I continued to bang the drum sticks instead.
12:30am - I begin my drive to Milwaukee for my 5am flight to Nashville. Sad to leave my friends behind.
3:30am - arrive in Nashville at airport. Return car. Walk to airline ticket counter. Not open. Stand there for half hour.
4:05am - someone from Continental shows up...finally. After 10 minutes of her "getting ready", we get our tickets.
4:10am - security line. again, NOT open yet. Stand for 20 minutes. Curiously, about 15 security workers are all standing at their posts waiting for it to turn 4:30am.
5:00am-ish - we're off to Nashville! oops. not yet. first leg is to, Houston, TX?!
8:15am - we're off to Nashville!
11:15am - I'm confused by all the time-zone changes I'll flip-flopping through, but we've made it to NAshville. Miraculously, my whole band on their own individual flights have arrived at airport around the same time. This will be the single-most impressive feature of our day. Well, for musicians that is.
1:00pm - check in to hotel in Murfreesboro. I can see the letters of that town quite plainly, but I STILL can't seem to say it correctly. I jump in shower. Johnny and I have effective not slept since 10am yesterday. Feels pretty cool.
2:30pm - arrive at Bonnaroo. We get our artist passes. Feel semi-important.
3:00pm - pull into parking lot. it's about 95 degrees under a blistering sun. I am a pale white singer-songwriter. Very sexy.
We are met by, Griper Nugent. That was correct. He picks us up in golf cart and escorts us onto the grounds to the Sonic Stage area where we will perform. Star treatment. I distinctly recall having perhaps read a few folks lips saying something like.."who are those assholes?"
3:15pm - backstage at Sonic. meet the peeps at OurStage who helped pull all this together for us. Very grateful. Watch Susan Tedeschi go on before us and she kills! The audience eats it up.
3:30pm - Don DiLego and band rehearse for Bonnaroo. Colin Killalea, who played guitar with me for the FIRST TIME last week in NYC, is standing nect to a giant blue octopus, playing saxophone to "Nicotine Prom Queen." Where am I? Mom?
4:30pm - Onstage at Bonnaroo! The crowd has thinned, but we are undeterred. The sun is directly in our faces. I think my bassist Johnny has melted a couple inches. We are un-phazed! We bust into "The Vegas Man" and I do my Elvis intro. Perhaps good for adding 10 folks to the audience. (all claims are unverified and maybe only in Don's head)
4:40pm - we're cookin' now. we get a half dozen or so new folks with each tune. The reality is, nary a soul knows who the hell we even are. And we're sandwiched between some incredibly loud bluegrass band and Aimme Mann. We are not winning the battle, but we are managing to take a few prisoners along the way. The band sounds good.
4:50pm - To Paul chagrin, I take a tom-tom solo during "Falling Into Space." I try to extend this "solo", but Paul indicated that I sounds like an empty water bottle. I head back to microphone
4:55pm - After a monumental white raggae jam with Colin wailing away on tenor sax, our set concludes. I have a gigantic smile on my face to be honest. The grand journey all weekend and all the stress of making the travel arrangements work out to make this happen, just washes away in the glow of the afternoon Bonnaroo sun. We played well, got some festival-goers to listen to us play, and made some new fans. What's not to be happy about?
5:10pm - interview with Alyssa Jayne Hale from OurStage in from of giant blue octopus. I attempt to be a wise-ass during my on camera interview. Turns out she's even more of one. I think I fall in love.
5:12pm - Occurs to me that everything I just said was not just a conversation in my head and will actually be aired.
5:20pm - a guy named Benjamin from Roving Festivals wants to interview me as well. Oh, so this is what the big guys do, eh?
Answer a few questions, including..."name some other great underground New York Artists."...when Ian Thomas walks by. Ian is a great folk singer-songwriter, who I played with a Jack's in NYC a bunch. Just happens to not only be coincidentally playing Bonnaroo, but also walking right past me doing the interview right then.
6:18pm - walking around Bonnaroo grounds. Everyone looks blitzed. I start playing the "I wonder what they're on" game.
7:15pm - get ride back to parking lot to load back up. Stay there for an hour playing frisbee in the setting sun with the guys. Sometimes these simple things are grand.
8:30pm - back at hotel. I know I'm exhausted but can't sleep.
9:05pm - find out that Sadie Loo, one of the cats I dearly love, only 2 years old, had to be put to sleep while I am away. Feel like I just got punched in gut, but am too tired to process it. She was family. She really was.
10:30pm? - blankly watch Celtics lose to Lakers, even though I'm not that upset about it. Kinda want to seem them win in Boston anyway. A nice divergence.
11:15pm-ish - somehow fall asleep
6:30am - someone knocks on our door, making me jump out of bed. No answer. Thanks for that.
7:11am - a louder knock. This time I realize that there are 2 buses of Jesus Camp parked outside and they are rounding each other up this morning for departure. Somehow, they keep mistaking Room 310 as fellow members.
8:30am - Target. Why am I here? No, seriously. Why?
9:30am - my friend Marwan texts me to congratulate my Bonnaroo performance as seen on internet. What?@!
9:35am - OurStage has posted video of my performance and interview. I am clown-like. But it's wonderful how much exposure they are giving me. Glad I am wearing pants.
*** Well, now I'm drinking my coffee and laying out my timeline for you because I know there is nothing else on the internet for you to read. So I am filling your void. I feel relieved, saddened, and somewhat rested. I am about to drive all the guys into Nashville to the airport for their respective afternoon flights back home. As for me, it just so worked out that my flight is tomorrow morning. So I will hole up in Nashville tonight, and wander Music Row on my own looking for some sad country music and a bit of whiskey. And that sounds just about right to me.