Tour BusBethlehem, PA

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  • Sunday, Oct 27, 2002
  • Tour Bus Bethlehem, PA

by Ray Paczkowski

Baritone drawl over the CB as we hit Virginia fog, slow it down. All night run from Bethlehem to Charlottesville, the crew and the band are 120 feet of human freight, wheels on wet tar sing that song a little softer now, tractor trailer barrels by, and Randy gets another dig in over the radio. “Son of a bitch” in a Tennessee drawl that for sheer wry understatement would make any Yankee envious. Highway lullabye.

The band’s been driving its own train these past few nights. Some new material from Trey, Peter, and Cyro has introduced the band to other rhythms, and a piece composed by Ernie Stiers, ‘Chapeau malvais,’ is a kind of intricate clockwork of strange harmonics in a big band setting. Dies Ires meets Woody Shaw.

This tour marks the first time that our personnel is unchanged from the last roll. While rehearsing the material in Vermont, it was immediately clear that we were a band in the truest sense. Everyone knew and respected each other, was familiar with the musical sensibilities, the choices we each might make. We all knew what the band could be capable of as a unit. It makes for a confident sound, and the illusion of effortlessness. Whatever. Feels good, and the plaster raining down off the balcony ceiling at the the Stanley theatre in Utica suggests we’re doing something right. Put down the good foot as one, and it has an effect. At least on the fire marshal. (Some nervous people backstage at that moment).

Anyway, sun’s coming up over the Shenandoah Valley, the fog’s burned off. Randy just took a wrong turn at the light in town. Todd stops at the intersection and tells him after it’s too late. Should have gone past the third light.

“well…then go past the son of a bitch.” Charlottesville. We’re here.

oh, and Chris says hi mom.