Five Ways from Sunday
PHC staffer Ben Miller is on the Radio Romance Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Aoife O'Donovan, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.
We pulled into Cincinnati at 1:30 a.m. after the shortest drive of the tour so far—a relatively brisk hour-and-a-half—and our bleary-eyed company staggered to our hotel rooms past a wedding party attempting to keep their celebration going despite a long-since-closed lobby bar.
As a longtime fan of Cincinnati chili, I made a point to grab a quick "five-way" for breakfast a few hours later, before boarding our bus bound for the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center (and happily explained the multi-option local chili ordering system for the rest of the day: a five-way's five ingredients are spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions and beans).
The Queen City marked a bittersweet stop on the tour for some of us who are returning to Minnesota after a great couple weeks on the road. I'll be heading home, along with Todd Behrens, who mixed the house sound for the first leg. Joining up will be audio engineer extraordinaire Noah Smith and our regular house sound man, Tony Axtell. We're also sad to part ways with one of our bus drivers, Norm, (an experienced, cool, collected driver—and a pretty solid bluegrass musician to boot, we hear) who'll be taking the performers' coach in for repairs necessitated by its tire mishap between San Diego and Salt Lake City.
Showtime arrived without a hint of relief from the heat and humidity we'd tried to avoid all day and when thunder rumbled throughout the night's second News from Lake Wobegon monologue it looked like our streak of trouble-free loadouts was about to end (though GK neatly wove it into a story about the Andreesen boy's apocalyptic visions). But the rain held off just long enough to stow all the road cases, move luggage to the new bus and exchange a few last goodbyes. Just as the van pulled away to take Todd and me back to the hotel for an overnight stay and an early morning flight back to the Twin Cities, the sky opened up with a soaking thunderstorm and the buses rolled East for a much-needed day off before the next show in Brevard, North Carolina.