Tour BusNew York, NY

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  • Tuesday, May 27, 2003
  • Tour Bus New York, NY

by Ray Paczkowski

New York. There really is no place like it. And it dawns on me everytime I step out of a bar, a hall, another bodega. The night air here is a rich thing, got its own climatic idiosyncrasies, geothermal steamvents, hot breath of an air conditioning exhaust, the subway cars inject their own air into ours, up into the street with a confused rumble, clack, grating. All the time. And the smell of New York, it reminds me of an old Sufi story about a beggar in the slums who wanders onto a street where vendors are selling perfumes. He is overcome by the heady fragrance and falls to the ground insensible. Several strangers try to wake him by shaking, prodding and wafting strong scents before him, but it is not until someone holds some foul trash under his nose that he awakes,smiling, and saying, “ahh….this familiar smell brings me back to reality.”

There was a familiar smell at the Hammerstein last night, and some familiar and not so familiar sounds as well. We launched “Undermind” and “Cinncinnati”, music in the genre of “Stravinsky meets Steve Miller.” You’d think they wouldn?t have much to say to each other, but, well, conversation is a funny thing…you just need the right interest in a topic I guess. There’s been all this talk about Led Zep recently, a DVD, some new dusted off takes from their reign as rock gods. So we put Jen in a trance and had her spiritually mainline Robert Plant for a version of Black Dog. Holy Shit. Takes me right back to high school, stuffing grocery bags at the supermarket, and realizing Zep is only properly understood through the speakers of a 79 Camaro.

Then it’s one last stroll down sixth avenue, steak and eggs and a handout, the bums muttering their secrets to anyone, Times Square’s unrelenting visual extravaganza, you can be this for only $29.95. All through the heady air of New York. Hey Hey Mama.