It rained today. For the first time in ages, seemingly. We have lucked out with the weather is so many ways on this trip, avoiding storms on flights, avoiding bad weather on outdoor shows, often by one day. The sun seems to be following us and as I type this looking out across Lake Michigan from the 16th floor in Chicago, I’m blinded by the bright sunshine glistening on the water. It was goodbye Toronto and a day trip back into the United States once more with an immigration clearance in Indianapolis. On approach, Mark asked me if I had ever seen the ‘Brickyard’ from the air, I couldn’t remember but I must have as right at that moment it appeared in all its fearsome glory on the right hand side of the plane. You can clearly see how narrow the circuit is, certainly as compared to other tracks.
Nicely put down once again by Captain Chris Calvert, our Challenger 850 taxi’d to the GA immigration centre where we waited patiently onboard for an official to welcome us into the US. It wasn’t long before an unusually jovial officer climbed the steps and announced in a semi-Southern accent that he was in a good mood and he’d see us on our way in no time. I’m glad he was in a good mood, I would hate for him to have been in a bad mood. I’m sure he could be quite menacing on a bad day. He escorted us across the hot tarmac to an empty immigration building reserved for private travellers and processed us in the same way as any other US airport, one by one. Within half an hour we were all free to enter the country and headed in limousine convoy towards the Murat theatre in the centre of Indianapolis.
Downtown, it was hot outside and the Murat Theatre, a huge building, housing more than one venue (we noticed a cool looking club with stage in the lower basement) awaited our arrival. we were so early that the crew hadn’t even done line check yet so there was a fair bit of hanging around. I went outside to chat with some of the fans who had showed up early outside for us to sign things. A couple held up the ‘favourite photographer’ sign which Pete had grabbed for me to sign. That’s a new one, but I’m touched and it was nice to chat with an ex professional photographer. One of our truck drivers has a beautiful dog that travels with him in the cab. Not something I’ve seen before but if I were a truck driver, I’d consider that kind of companionship too as I love dogs. Sound check was swift with a few PA adjustments as there was an area of the stage that was, shall we say, lively in the low end. Right where Mark is. Also this theatre is very difficult for Dave Dixon, our FOH engineer as he literally cannot see the PA due to the excessively low Balcony. He had to monitor with satellite speakers along with a portion of the audience who sat beneath. I hope the sound wasn’t too compromised.
Yet another stellar performance from the band but an extraordinarily exuberant crowd. Not what I was expecting…but then I’m not sure what I was expecting. Sadly Laurence, our keyboard tech will be heading home in a couple of days as his mum isn’t well. His replacement, Brent Jeffers, arrived just before show time to learn the rigs before Laurence leaves. We met him just before we went on stage. We all wish him and his family the best. After show, we performed the customary ‘run’ to the plane for a 35 minute hop to Chicago Midway airport. One of our favourite towns in the world and possibly the favourite hotel too (3 Pelotons in the gym, my newest addiction). Our new hostess Natalie dished up the post show food and showed, effortlessly, that she can make the perfect G&T. Gaining one hour as we flew across a time zone meant we arrived at the hotel well before midnight but the urge to party at any of the local bars was kept in check as we have a show in Kansas City tomorrow. Sleep was deep in the Peninsula bed, as it always is.