Departing the lovely Hotel Emma, I recapped mentally on our great stay in Texas. The people have been great, the weather, hot and the food, stellar. And so it was, back in the vans and en route to San Antonio airport for the final time. We drove up to the FBO gate and as ever, Captain Calvert was waiting. The gates slid open and we pulled alongside the beautiful Challenger 850.
A 40 minute flight into Dallas Love Field airport was smooth and swift and cars were one again, airside to whisk us and our gig bags to the venue. The Verizon is another purpose built theatre, fabulously appointed and designed so when we pulled up backstage, the crew were smiling after what was an easy load-in with all 4 of our trucks being able to reverse the trailers up to the loading bays. Grand Prairie is a city within a city, situated in Dallas, Tarrant and Ellis Counties, it was annexed as a city in 1909 and since then has grown exponentially. The sprawl of urban America is no more evident than here as vast areas of prairie have been converted into a self professed ‘city of promise, a city of growth, a city of location”.
Learning that it was to be a 7pm show, plus we were to gain an hour on our after-show flight to Denver, we headed to the stage with a view to a quick sound check. Once again, our PA system was in use and the stage sounded great. Catering was lovely, albeit a bain-marie extravaganza. I had the tiniest piece of fish and 2 chips…but I did succumb to the lure of a home made Victoria Sponge Cake. Just a slither, honest. Frugal portions pre-show mean that when I get to the jet after show, I’m ready to eat a small Texan town (and I knew we were having ribs!).
Loud extraction fans were switched on during line-check which halted proceedings as they were…LOUD. The reason for this was that the air conditioning in the building could not be controlled, only turned off, and since the temperature was very cold indoors, in stark contrast to outdoors where it was 105 degrees, the solution was to open the loading bays behind the stage and switch on the ‘evac’ fans top pull out the cold air. Obviously the fans were shut down and we continued with sound check and by the time we took to the stage, the temperature was lovely and warm.
An annoyance for musicians from the UK is the temperature differences from outside to in. Air conditioning in the USA is literally everywhere and often buildings are so cold inside, you need to wear a sweater. I know what you’re saying… ‘bloody whingeing Brits’. I’d rather be hot, than cold, any day as the fingers work better.
So the final Texan show was set to be a cracker, and it was. The audience were absolutely lovely, particularly attentive. This was the first audience on the tour who waited until the very end of Romeo And Juliet before applauding. Kudos, Grand Prairie. The final few bars have several descending chords which are often swallowed by applause. We finished up and ran to the plane, our driver taking a longer route so we pulled up with everyone already on board. I couldn’t wait to get stuck into the ribs. I didn’t even mind that they were cold. Stepping off the plane in Denver was the first time in weeks where a jacket was required. Cool air finally and on the run into town at 10:30pm, in the SUV I noticed lightening in the area and immediately called up the live lightening app on my phone. Sure enough as I got to my room, a cracking, but brief, thunderstorm moved across downtown Denver.