Texas is an extraordinary place, there is a real buzz here. Yes, it’s the weekend sure but there’s nothing mythical about Texan hospitality and warmth. Self-confidence is also a trait from historical evidence I would say. They definitely see themselves as different from the rest of the USA and their economy, the largest in the States, is robust. It could explain why currently the number of people moving to Austin Texas every day would fill a Boeing 747. This exodus seems to be mostly from California.

Our day trip today took us from Austin to Dallas and back. Again, it’s a while since we’ve been here. Today’s venue is the Majestic, Majestic theatre, the last remnant of Theatre Row, the city’s historic entertainment centre on Elm Street. Not far away, Deep Ellum, immediately east of Downtown, originally became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz and blues hot spot in the South. Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in original Deep Ellum clubs such as The Harlem and The Palace.

The crew load in today was tight and quite frankly, standing at the side of stage, one wonders how they managed to get our complete back line in at all. Extraordinary.

After sound check, a few of us decided to head for Dealey Plaza, the location of an event which changed the world. It was about ten or twelve blocks from the venue, the evening was warm and the streets were pretty deserted apart from the occasional street corner where some very shady characters would be hanging out. Texas hospitality would not seem to be on offer here. The Plaza itself looks familiar of course, we’ve all seen the images but the hairs on the back of your neck react immediately as you walk down the road towards the spot – unofficially marked with a cross – where President Kennedy was assassinated. Standing on the grassy knoll, where it is thought that another gunman stood, was a similarly eerie sensation. It all seems very real when you’re there.

Catering co-ordinator, Steve Bond with Johnny and Mike. Ianto in background.

We walked back to the venue in time for our warm-ups and a show that almost matched the one in Austin the night before for crowd enthusiasm. The only difference being the fact that the stage seemed distant from the auditorium. We certainly heard them at the end though and the standing ovations were as excitable as anywhere. We ‘ran’ from the stage as per normal except that our runner quickly turned into a scene from Spinal Tap. As we left in the cars, the lights turned against us and a theatre full of people crossed the streets all around us. Then a Green light, then a street cleaning machine, another red light, another green, more people, then a police woman flashed her torch in our eyes to say stop…and let a procession of cars out of a car park opposite the venue. It took us 5 whole minutes to leave the block the venue was on. It was all pretty funny.

At the plane, Debby had plates of Dallas ribs which were perfect. A single large Gin and Tonic and I was wondering quite what I have done to deserve all this. Something, I’m sure.

this pic from Cheney Coker


Today’s Track of the Day is Ride Ride Ride – Vetiver (comment – a motivator)