(Jason Lent has forsaken the island paradise of Hawaii to follow us around for a few months. I have happily placed the tour diary in his capable hands. It should bring a new perspective to our ramblings.)
“…the song which defines that time is ‘200 More Miles’. It is about the wanderlust that infected us all during that year. When I listen to it I am placed right back in the van…alone with our thoughts, nobody on the road but us and the long haul truckers, and the music we are listening to is so piercingly beautiful.” – Michael Timmins
Leaving Phoenix, the band headed up the highway on a 15 hour trek to Salt Lake City while I weaved up the back roads that hugged the Grand Canyon and pushed on through Moab, UT. The eroded monoliths of rock were stunning and I stopped just outside Moab to watch the sun fall into a pillow of clouds. Two more sleeps and this journey would be over. Sneaking into Colorado through the back door of Grand Junction, I pulled over and slept until daybreak. As the sun rose over the green peaks and brought a deep blue to the sky above, I crossed the majestic Rocky Mountains. Denver came into sight as I made the final descent and the end of the adventure became a reality. When I get the rental car back to Chicago on Monday, I’ll have crossed 13,000 miles, seen over 30 shows and visited 37 states. Each night, I was reminded of the brilliant music the band can produce under any circumstances. Each day, I was blessed with their companionship. Tonight’s final show took place in one of the interlocking suburbs that connect Denver with Boulder. The small outdoor amphitheater was pleasant but sterile. It lacked the funky, eclectic vibe you hope to find at an arts complex. Having covered over 5,000 miles on this leg, the band took the stage tired but the music hid that truth from the audience. The acoustic set included a loose, fun ‘Anniversary Song’ and an understated arrangement of ‘Witches’ that ranks up there as one of the musical highlights of the tour. An emotional ‘200 More Miles’ lowered the curtain on my adventure. The song rooted itself in my soul on this journey and I’ll never let go of the experience. The desolate stretches of highway alone with my thoughts, the small moments of friendship shared in new towns, and each live performance reminded me of how precious each day can be when you follow your heart. To the band and crew, thank you.