Washington, D.C. “Livingroom Tour” Report

I’m on my friends’ Heather and Joe’s back porch in Takoma Park, MD, just a few blocks from the DC border. It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m about half-way through the first leg of the Livingroom Tour. And I can’t even begin to know where to start…

I left NYC at dusk on Thursday, still significantly hung over from the kick-off party in my livingroom that found me passed out on the bathroom floor at 3 a.m. (thanks for waking me up, Rod, Vanessa and Abbey — but what’s up with the 165 new photos on the digital camera?). It took me nearly two hours to actually get off of Manhattan, but less than 45 to get to Princeton. Jeff met me in front of his apartment — a quanset hut, really, originally built by the university for the deluge of post-WWII GIs.

After a run to the liquor store, and some quality catch up time (plus I vacumed), Jeff and Kristan’s grad student friends began to flood in. And beforer I knew it, I was performing ‘California’ (a little quickly, I might add). It was a fun show. Everyone sang along to ‘Radio’ (which is the idea, after all), and snapped up merch afterwards (including the new runner baby-t which is going like hotcakes).

We stayed up late into the night talking, and rose early for coffee and conversation. My fondest memory will be of the four of us — Jeff, Kristan, me, and their dog Sam — sitting on their bed drinking coffee and talking about life.

Jeff and I went for a beautiful run around a nearby lake, sweating off the beers and clearing up the senses. He went of to class, so Kristan and I cought power naps, packed up, and got ready to roll…

On to UPenn, which former-MTV News intern extraordinaire Rachel Josue had rallied her troopes for an old-fashioned college attick party. Except the kind hosts — Dan and Jeremy — were watching ‘Airforce One’ in a flourescent flooded empty room when we got there. A few tea lights, six packs, and MP3s later, we were ready to rock.

The UPenn kids were great, though I must say their Ivy league counterparts beat them in the sing-along categorie. I even trotted out ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ for the departing seniors, but kinda’ stalled on the third verse. Still it’s been nice to pull songs outa’ my butt on a moment’s notice and know that it’s ok if they’re not perfect (thanks Dave Matthews for that lesson).

I woke early and went for a run in Philly, traversing the Schuylkill, and circling the Penn campus. My mother tought there when I was a kid, and my best friend Sibby went there, so each corner held some significance or memory. Rach and I spent the morning wandering campus and drinking coffee (nectar of the gods), before I hopped in my trusty Mazda 6 and headed…

Down here to DC. It was a beautiful afternoon, clear sky, bright sun. I was cranking the tunes (Rufus, REM, Ryan — the usual), windows down… it felt like a proper road trip. And then I was here, in the most-adult home of one of my oldest friends (I’ve known Heather since sixth grade). Their home is beautiful, and their neighborhood teaming with friends, all of whom showed up promptly at 7:30. I had hoped to get in a power nap, but no such luck. So it was meet and greet time (which is getting to be the routine, but doesn’t feel routine), and then I was on. Their friends were great and attentive and a total public radio crowd, so they got it in spades. It seemed like the record’s themes really resonated here. One of the guys’ had just gotten out of a bi-coastal relationship, and a lot of the audience was in its thirties, starting families, putting down roots, and coming to terms with wherever they are in life. Which isn’t solely what Almost Home is about, but it worked.

I’ve been performing a roughly similar set every night populated principly by the cast and locations of Almost Home: Stephanie (‘Intent On St. Paul’), the guy on the side of the freeway (‘Hollywood Arms’), California. But I’ve been adding to it as I go along. Last night Joe and I covered ‘Here Comes Your Man,’ and I encored with Nick Drake’s ‘Time Has Told Me’ (which I performed for Heather and Joe’s first dance at their wedding). I trotted out a brand new song, ‘Christofer Street,’ which I wrote on Kristan and Jeff’s porch in Princeton, as a late-night encore.

I’ve been walking all day I’ve been dragging my feet
Still I’m making my way back to Christopher Street
To a girl and a place to finally call my own
To call home

So…yeah, I am looking forward to getting back to the city and resting a while. This is a lot of work, this constant transition, constant newness. So I’ve been thinking about using some vacation time to sit on a beach somewhere sipping umbrella drinks in the sun. But for now — three more night ’til I head back to NYC — this is it. And it’s great. Great perspective, great time with friends, and evern some great music.

Hope to see you somewhere along the way…

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