For the second time, I went on tour with The Tallest Man on Earth. It was short but incredibly sweet; I spent only 7 days living on a big-ass tour bus and selling merch, courtesy of my dear friend Todd the Tour Manager. This time was different because we were in the USofA! and I was there at the beginning vs. the end, unlike the last tour in Canada.
It all began when I flew into Seattle to meet the guys and our bus at a hotel for a trek out to Sasquatch! music fest! I absolutely love music festivals, I’m discovering. So much music all in once convenient place! The venue was out in the middle of nowhere and stunning! The main stage backed up to a beautiful gorge, mini-grand-canyon, which did not suck. We arrived a day early before our scheduled set and parked our bus on the lawn and presumed to fest.
I didn’t have to work yet so I kept going back to the bus to grab beers I could sneak into the venue. I have free reign since we were crew so I was like a little bird flying from stage to stage to see Surfer Blood, Holy Ghost!, the XX and my favorite – Tame Impala. The next day was our set day but the venue sold merch so I didn’t have to work AGAIN! Amazing. So I planned my day of Diiv, Tallest Man, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Grimes and Mumford and Sons. All I can say about that is how mind-blowing it is to see 10k+ people coming together for music’s sake. It felt like a cult, like a religious experience to see it all from back/side stage and also from the crowd. Totally different vibes that were equally amazing. I was extremely touched by the experience of it all, especially Tallest Man and Edward Sharpe. I felt so proud of Kristian and so happy for him to draw such a huge crowd – all singing along and excited. And Edward’s singer is truly the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She glowed and vibrated pure joy and happiness. Hearing them play ‘Home’ live made me cry. It was so incredible.
From there we moved onto Winatachee, WA to The Performing Arts Center, in this tiny main street u.s.a. type town. It was my first night of ‘working’ merch and I had a theft! I couldn’t believe my eyes when this stinky ass loser I remember from earlier walked into the theater while Kristian was playing, with a record under his arm. I was watching from the back of the theater and he didn’t notice me standing there, in the dark. I knew I was going to bust him when he came out and I did! He was hiding it under his shirt and I got it back. I said “you gonna pay for that, gimme twenty dollars”….”karma is a bitch dude”…. he just looked at me, all stoney and pulled the record out from under his shirt.
Mizzoula, MT was next and it was a strange little town where everyone seemed to know each other, amongst a lot of homeless people and gutter hippies. I loaded in my merch at The Wilma Theatre and wandered around and shopped at some pretty bad stores, while I waited for doors to open. It started raining harder just as I decided to walk back to the venue after chatting in a cafe with a local. A lot of Teva sandals in the lobby that night but no theft, at least. This adorable old couple was waiting by the table for me to come back mid-way through the show, and she gave me this teeny-tiny vial which I immediately thought was drugs. She then said it was lavender oil from a Mizzoula lavender farm and that I should give it to Kristian for comfort on the road. She instructed me to tell him to put it on his throat. I thought it was so incredibly thoughtful and nice of her to give me MY FAVORITE essential oil. BUT alas, I did give it to Kristian and told him the directions.
I must say that it is the weirdest thing, being on -technically- a road trip and seeing practically no road. The bus does most driving at night, as I lay in my bed-coffin, near panic attack. It bounces all over, going through mountains and I try not to think about all those horrible stories of bands succumbing to bus trouble.
Boise!!! I’ve never been there and I was excited! The venue was The Knitting Factory, in a strip-mall though and it’s hard to get a grasp of a town when you are immersed in it. I needed a vantage point. So I shopped some more! Then we loaded in and I was having feng-shui issues with where they put the merch table. Out beyond the stage and up flights of stairs. And Feng-shui issues with setting up. I think I yelled at Todd in my frazzlement. But Kristian sounded fantastic and so did Strand of Oaks, both always do. Kristian wanted to fly fish the next day, since we had it off so he made an announcement and then I had a bunch of people flocking to the merch table with fly fishing tips and places to go. This couple, wearing matching shirts, offered to take us out on a boat down a river. We ended up not fishing the next day, but we did contemplate going to a bikini bull-riding contest. Instead I had an awesome day off of eating pizza three times from Pie Hole, hiking, shopping, arcade-bar (old skool MORTAL KOMBAT!), whisky and gambling. Which is just playing 3’s with dice and dollar bills. Our standard bus debauchery.
We rolled into Salt Lake City that night and woke up next to The Depot (venue) and a giant mall. Oh boy. We couldn’t load in until late afternoon so I walked around and shopped and went to the Temple where all the Mormons go to worship. It was gorgeous and everyone looked pretty and nice. Strangely, no one tried to convert me and I was bummed, I really wanted to talk Mormon with them. Anyways, the town was really pretty from what I saw. Mountains in the background. All these tall temples and historic buildings with fountains everywhere. We did the typical load in, shower, eat, set up, show, set down, count down, pack up, drink, drink, drink…
The next day we all woke up as we got into Denver to play at the Ogden Theater, which had the nicest shower thus far and a completely revamped green room. I felt rock and roll. However, the venue was in the GHE-TTO. There were bumbling bums all over as I walked to get some air and a slurpee. We got to load in early and I had to share my merch area with the bar which made for some interesting people watching. That night there was a merch storm. I never had to handle so many people before. Cray. It was so busy that the Square credit card thingie stopped working. I was on fire and went out with a bang on my last night of work. It was so cute seeing all the fans gathered by the bus, waiting for him to come out. He did the courteous thing and said hi to everyone individually and signed stuffs. Then we played the last game of 3’s (for me) and drank on the bus as we drove over to another parking lot.
We had the next day off in Denver and spent it at Todd’s parents house. We grilled steaks and drank beers and played croquet, bags and corn-hole. My sister drove in from Colorado Springs with my brutha-in-law and I got to see my adorable niece Claire-Bear. It was a beautiful day, full of sun and laughs and baby talk. A perfect end to a perfect tour with the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I’m invited back next year and I am hoping to do a whole tour that time. None of this partial shit.