The final day off of the tour landed us in Boston and for me, an irresistible urge to re-visit the Legal Seafood restaurant conveniently located next door to our hotel. I’d managed to get through the whole tour thus far without having a New England Clam Chowder and today was the day. Well worth the wait as I’m sure you can guess, along with a sumptuous Crab Cake and spinach salad all washed down with a perfectly chilled, well balanced and reasonably priced glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I figured I needed a glass of wine having spent the past 30 minutes in the Apple Store directly across the road. In my opinion, a lot of restaurants have got their wine pricing all wrong. There should be no reason that diners should pay through the nose to enjoy something delicious and any restaurant that hikes their wine prices up should be avoided. Sure, they have overheads and I’d guess that places like Chicago’s Capital Grille have become used to reliance on higher wine prices. We discovered a delicious Pinot Noir on their list the other evening, a house wine for which we were charged $60. Subsequent research unearthed the very same wine for sale in high street liquor stores for $20. Delicious but ridiculous. Legal Seafood seem to have got it right.
Whilst people-watching from my window seat in the Prudential center branch of the seafood chain, I felt a tap on my shoulder, “mind if I join you?” asked Mike. He had been across the road in an Irish bar watching his team and his sorrows now required drowning as Manchester United had just lost 1-0 to Norwich! I’m sure Pete and Paul would be celebrating Arsenal’s 5-2 win over Spurs.
As the day progressed, plans for our last evening off of the tour were starting to develop. Our pal and BluesClub cohort, William Topley was in town with Dorie Jackson (she sang on my album) and they were playing tonight at Hennessey’s bar. Paul asked if anyone fancied going and of course I stuck my name down. Pete, Paul and I grabbed a taxi and headed off and arrived at the venue to the sound of William’s support/backing band knocking out their set. It seemed there was time for a quick bite to eat so we headed back out onto the street and managed to get a table in one of the many pub-like bars along the street. It seemed extremely busy in Boston tonight as though some sort of festival was underway but I never did find out exactly what. We returned to see William and Dorie play a great set. Back at the hotel bar, which was still full at 2am, we found John, Mike and Dorie. Nightcap then.
Show Day in Boston started in the gym for me, Glenn and probably a few others. I had every intention of getting out and about but once I’d made several trips to the front desk in my gym gear to re-initialize my key, I ended up just larding about the room in an unsightly state of undress wondering how everything was going to fit back in the Briggs and Rileys. We invariably secure late check-outs at hotels and as a consequence, their systems more often than not, disable our room keys. Two hours later, the packing deadline was fast approaching and I was none the wiser. Then, a mad scramble and when Pete knocked on my door to collect, I had showered and was actually dressed. Hotel check-out was swift and with two huge tour buses parked up outside, all I had to do was to get on board one of them.
Down at the Garden, The TD Garden to be commercially correct, the buses pulled up into the huge parking lot and we were escorted in through a side door and up 3 flights of stairs, this was to avoid the airport style security screening (really?) which I assume was the norm at the backstage entrance. Not that we have anything to hide I hasten to add, just the utter inconvenience. The Garden is of course home to the world renowned NBA Boston Celtics.
Backstage at the Garden was busy this evening as quite a few of Bob’s band family members were in attendance. Catering was rammed and with New England Chowder and Lobster on the menu, it’s hardly surprising. I had 2 bowls of chowder, well I’m in that mode now so why stop? I managed to resist the Lobster Lure. With our usual meticulous preparations complete, we were ready and fired up at the side of stage at 7:28pm for Paul’s grand announcement of our return to Boston. Now at this point I must say that we love Boston. Apart from the fact that it’s a fabulous town, the audiences here are truly wonderful. We ALWAYS have a great show here and tonight, well….. you know.
As usual, we we found ourselves offstage before we really got going and savoring the backstage atmosphere once again. Mark was invited to join Mr. Bob for three songs tonight and Bob seemed pleased. That’s good.
A glass of wine and a laugh in our dressing room with a few of our crew boys and it was soon time to board the buses once more for a relatively long run down to Philly. Regular readers will now know that after show bus rides involve some sort of post-gig feast and tonight it was Legal Seafood. Hurrah! Crab cakes, Calamari, Won Tons, Prawn Crackers and Shrimp ‘thingies’, all delicious and extremely good for us. Washed down with a couple of glasses of wine and a humble Gin and Tonic for Richard and I. We toasted another fine evening and pretty soon we were out of the Boston area heading down through Connecticut and on towards Manhattan and the Bronx.
On long bus journeys, particular attention is paid to road surfaces as a poor surface can easily scupper the best laid plans for sleep. Massachusetts and Connecticut surfaces are deliciously smooth and the bus felt as though it was riding on a cushion of air but as soon as we crossed the New York state line, the contrast was sudden and shocking. Jason had to noticeably slow the bus. I was riding shotgun for a while so the subject was discussed at length. My decision not to head for the bunks was well founded. Once we were across the George Washington Bridge and on into New Jersey along the New Jersey Turnpike, things started to slowly improve. In another example of contrasting State lines, Tennessee has some of the most well maintained surfaces in the Country whilst Jason scores Louisiana pretty lowly.
By 3:30 am, I was officially fighting the urge to shut my eyes and drift off but I thought, only an hour to go, I’ll make it. I did, we arrived at the slightly tired but reassuringly familiar and comfortable Four Seasons in Philadelphia. I fell into bed and promptly lie awake for an hour. I guess it must have been 5:30 before my mind finally shut down and I was dreaming of well formed Paddleboarding waves in warm sunshine.