Charlottesville (Day II) “Summer’s Gone” Tour Report

Exhale… it’s Sunday. Today, I rest. I’m still in Charlottesville, back in the UVA computer cluster with my cousin. I’m much, much worse for the wear. Same clothes as Friday. Dehydrated (sympathetic dehydration — there’s a draught in the region despite Isadore’s recent rainfall). Head ache. You get the picture.

It’s the basic residual affects of collegiate life. I think we finally trailed
off into a Best Western slumber around 5:20 a.m., filled to the gills with Nilla
Wafers, Newcastle Brown Ale and numerous unidentifiable shots created by the
benevolent Buddhist Biker Bar staff.

Last night’s show was very interesting, very different, and at times very
difficult. I was on a small stage on the patio. I looked up during the first
song to see the crescent moon rising through the leaves. Not one but two trains
rumbled just behind the bar during my set. It was surreal at times. The
atmosphere at the venue was a challenge. College kids probably don’t want to be
turned on to some new singer/songwriter at 12:30 on a Saturday. Especially one
who sings about broken hearts, broken homes, and broken promises — even if all
the songs have a happy ending. But I persevered, peppering the set with covers
(“Let It Bleed,” “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” “Here Comes Your Man,” “Brown Eyed Girl”) and won over a fair number of unwitting patrons. I had a few young coeds doing their best dancing nancy, spinning around all Grateful Dead like. I sold some CDs. Mission accomplished.

The real fun came afterwards — I finished at 1:45, fifteen minutes after last call — hanging at the bar with the staff: Jeremy, Dewey, Matt, Dan, and a few other randoms singing along to Billy Joel and Hall and Oats and consuming all sorts of strange drinks. Luke and I fell outa’ the Buddhist around 4, ditched the rental and traipsed across campus looking for more food, more fun, more drink. No success. So it was back to the Best Western, Nilla Wafers, etc., and off into a short but deep sleep. This morning, er, this afternoon, we refueled on eggs and pancakes at The Tavern, I’m gonna’ pick up some UVA shwag, and head south through the rolling green hills towards North Carolina.

This whole mini-tour thing’s been interesting. A learning process, to be sure. It’s been lonesome at times. And (as Radiohead say) meeting people isn’t easy. But I feel like it’s making me stronger somehow, surviving all of this uncertainty, rolling with the variables, finding my way through the South. It’s exhausting, bone tiring. And arguably less rewarding emotionally (and certainly financially) than I might have thought. But in every town, there are a handful of people who “get it,” who appreciate it, and who make this whole thing worth while. ‘Cuz it’s not about Me, it’s about Us.

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