Thursday, July 20, 2000

Cloudy - chance of Heaven...but Stop The Rain

If I find that any of you out there were engaged in rain dances toward the end of last week, I swear I will personally hire whatever means of transport necessary to visit your neighborhood, along with members of the New England Witches Coven, some fanatics from the "Nuisances For God" Northeastern sept, a few mercenaries from the Guns Of Vengeance Social Club, and maybe a couple of nasty people as well, since I hold you directly responsible for an historic 'first' in our entire career - TWO consecutive washouts (Fri. & Sat.) when monsoon rains called off both Pittsburgh Boardwalk, and McGeary's in Albany.

Talk about frustration; to travel all that way (about 1800 miles round trip) and to set everything up each afternoon, and to stand there helpless while the elements literally piss all over your cruise, is just too unfair. And unfair to all those good folk who remember two smashing gigs last summer at each of these respective gigs. There is, however one small crumb of comfort in the story, and that is that last Wednesday saw us complete the show we had truncated mid-set last year, at Riverbend pavilion in Chester, Virginia. You may recall my dissertation on that one, when the mini-tornado touched down during Pick up the Pieces, and blew away drums, tents, covers and all, only for one 'Martian' lady backstage to enquire when we would be going back on! (she probably thinks nothing of taking her vacuum cleaner through puddles)

Otherwise, this has been a superb summer season for us, all the way since California, and even Vegas before that. Talking of which, we have been asked back to the capital of Wager-World for a concert in September, at the Fremont Street Experience, an open-air event celebrating the original 'strip' in Vegas, which I guess they are trying to give the kind of status that Memphis gives to Beale St., or New Orleans to Bourbon St., etc. Anyway, it should be a grand night with us on one stage, and our pals Tower Of Power on another, a couple of blocks down. Hopefully we're not both playing at the same time, as that would prove a dreadful conflict of loyalties for most of our fans, who seem to like both of us in equal measure. If that's the case, we'll just have to turn up the volume to twelve, or bribe someone to switch off their power supply. Then they'll be simply "Tower Of................"

I note with complete indifference that while we have been barrelling round this great Nation for the past couple of months, that there have been two rather large political conventions which seem to have something to do with finding something for CNN News to cover in the midst of a delegational drought, while legislation languishes, and the Prez putters along unnoticed (save for his Barak & Arafat show). Now, far be it from me to suggest that all of you feel this way - for all I know you have been glued to your televisions, hanging on every (rehearsed) word uttered by Herr Bush, Goofy Gore, and their middle-management minions, but it occurs to me that, on a scale of one to ten, this has had all the entertainment value of post-anaesthetic dentistry, or the semi-finals of the all-England croquet tournament during a rain-break ( not to mention the Women's Rural Institute's annual bake-off, when they couldn't get the camera started till after the oven doors were closed )

Honestly, what a load of insignificant, pompous, self-aggrandizing, bogus and bewildering ballyhoo this is; thank god for the finals of Euro 2000, the international soccer championships in Holland & Belgium, which saw France (the world champs) narrowly beat Italy for the title, after a series of great displays from the likes of Portugal, Romania, Spain and Holland in the run-up to the eventual final pairing. It was some of the best and most skillful football ever, and some of the most gripping television, too. Seldom does sports coverage get to that level, but it must be said that the answer to this is in the fact that it was a truly international endeavour in the filming, broadcasting, and local delivery of the programs. How nice it would be to watch these world events here in the USA, if, instead of ABC or CBS and their plodding, non-stop, inane (and often ill-informed) commentaries we could have the local feeds, who really know their stuff in these sports, and who know how to let the drama of the moment speak for itself instead of babbling ceaslessly over the entire occasion as if it were no more than a backdrop for their self-appointed importance.

Send them all back to the political conventions, I say. They deserve each other.

Oh, yes, I know where we started all this: touring, summer, music, entertainment and the wonderful world of AWB as it relates to you and me. Well, we have one more weekend of gigs to go before taking our annual break, which we manage to convince ourselves is hard-earned and well-deserved, despite convincing evidence to the contrary. I refer to several embarrassing instances recently, when five of us were seen strolling on the beach at San Juan Capistrano on a glorious early-summer evening, for all the world like five carefree girl scouts on a break from their jamboree (that is until some rotten little kid's kite suddenly nosedived and almost decapitated Matt......then we showed our true colours - the mood got ugly); then the day I was spotted nonchalantly whacking my way around the golf course near Atlantic City (Hey, I made twenty-four bucks off two old guys that insisted on playing for an ante.......what could I do, for chrissake?), and then of course the ultimate gruelling chore a couple of weeks back, when we all had to show up at Dave Brunetto's wedding and were forced, against our will and better judgement, to consume vast quantities of fine wine and champagne while doing our bit to bid our boy farewell, adieu, and God speed.

Dave will be known to most of you as the extremely charming and witty young man who has for years manned our public relations station (the merchandise table, to you) in a manner and style that would have suited his lookalike, the young Dean Martin. D.B., as we call him, was always an erudite and inspiring fellow traveller with a wealth of knowledge, and rapier of wit when challenged to a duel. No surprise then, when, at the end of his wedding night speech, he toasted his new bride affectionately, then after a perfect pause, added, "............and at table fifteen the Average White Band will be signing autographs after the show...."

Cue the applause, bring down the curtain, and give the band a break - QUICKLY.