Based on the hotel breakfast options in Tulsa yesterday it was with trepidation I picked up the phone to make this morning’s breakfast order. A very polite girl who announced herself as Jessica answered the call and had to dash off and find a pen as though a breakfast order from a guest room might be an unusual occurrence. With not much hope of success I asked if they had a cappuccino coffee.
“No, sorry” came the reply.
“What about a Latte?”
“Just a coffee then, do you have any granola?”
“How about any muesli?”
“Does the hotel have any breakfast cereals at all?
“No….. we have Oatmeal”
“Oh never mind, I’ll just have an omelette, cheese and tomato please”. I couldn’t face Steak, Eggs and Hash Browns after Popeye’s Poultry Potlatch last night.
Ten minutes later, Jessica arrived in person at the door with my breakfast tray. I signed, tipped and set about my feast. The orange juice was clearly mixed from concentrate and utterly awful now that we’re spoiled by fresh West Coast juices. The complimentary coffee, well we’ll forget that as I have the kettle on for a cup of PG. The omelette was the second worst I’ve ever had, second only to the remarkable JFK/Ramada omelet (note incorrect spelling) Mr. Saggers and I experienced in 2006. I really tried to eat it but couldn’t. Fortunately, 31 years of touring teaches you to have a backup plan in such instances, I rummaged in the dark depths of my over-filled Briggs and Riley suitcase and found the emergency granola packet. Combined with half of the banana something told me I would need as I left the bus at 6am this morning, I filled my teacup and went to the mini bar which to my utter astonishment contained a large bottle of REAL, yes REAL milk. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark and depressing breakfast experience. Granola, banana, fresh milk and a great cup of tea. Happy days!
A real milk bottle..today..
Unless it’s justified, I don’t like being too harsh on hotels and the Deco is actually pretty nice and the shower is probably the best of the tour, a multi-function affair with plenty of pressure and thankfully an instruction manual. “Now, if only I can find my glasses….damn, left them on the bus”.
4pm and it’s checkout time and off to the venue once more for this happy band of wanderers. Standing outside the hotel in the fresh autumnal morning, we watched as guests arrived for a wedding which was to overrun the hotel for the day. We were glad to be leaving.
At the venue, the 1.1 million square foot Centurylink center, we learned of the overnight near-misses on the journey here. Apparently both our band buses narrowly avoided a head-on collision with a car being driven the wrong way down the interstate. Both Jason and Saen had to veer onto the hard shoulder to avoid catastrophe. Even though our crew buses were at least an hour behind us, they had an identical near-miss, having to swerve in similar fashion. Surely not the same driver! Astonishing. Not only that, our crew bus actually hit a deer. The resultant damage is clear to see. Sadly the poor deer ended up in three pieces and yes, that is blood on the fender.
Speaking with Bob’s band bus driver, deer roadkill is a regular occurrence in these parts and he said that the side of the road was literally littered with dead animals. At this time of year it seems, the harvest thins the Corn crops which offers the deer cover and then mating season begins, the deer become more mobile and are prone to being hit by traffic.
Our sound-check revealed something about the stage in what appeared to be just another generic arena venue, which offered exceptional acoustics. The in-ear sound had an unusual clarity. I say unusual as the vast majority of venues are never perfect and various contributing factors mean that Kerry (monitor man) has to work to get things to ‘gel’. Today, even though it appeared to be very similar to many arenas we’ve played, things seemed a lot clearer. Onstage for the actual show, this was confirmed. My in-ear mix sounded as close to a recording session as I’ve ever heard. It’s usually the bottom end which suffers, the long waveforms of lower frequencies being affected by large rooms and consequently affecting other frequencies. When the low end is as good, as it is in here, everything sounds much clearer. The band relished and gelled in such favourable conditions. We left the stage and pretty soon word came that Bob had invited Mark to join him for four songs this evening. Half an hour later, Bob and band took to the stage to an excited Omaha crowd and Mark stepped up for songs two, three, four and five. We all watched from the side of stage and Bob seemed to be in great form tonight. As Mark left the stage, out of the darkness, Bob said “Thanks Mark, that’s Mark Knopfler on that GEETAR”. The crowd cheered.
Ten minutes later, our band wagon train was on the road once again and this evening’s post-show menu was Persian cuisine. It wasn’t all that bad either. We all hoped the long run to Glenn’s home town of Madison, Wisconsin would be deer-free and smooth sailing.
After seven hours we arrived safely and made our bleary-eyed way to our rooms to try and continue the night’s sleep. Yet another day off tomorrow and an exciting band versus crew Bowling match to look forward to.
Drop by tomorrow for the the results and the next exciting installment…