(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.)
As I headed into the concrete jungle of New York City, I kicked up the Jay-Z and put myself in an empire state of mind. I was born here and now it was time to survive here. I did my research all morning, mapped out a route and an alternate route, printed up coupons for multiple 24-hour parking lots, fueled the car, and packed a survival bag of clothes and computer. A few right turns later, I found a secure garage for $30 and the odyssey began.
The Museum of Natural History was just a few blocks up the street and brought me back to my childhood. I suddenly found memories of looking up at the dinosaurs holding my father’s hand that I thought were long forgotten. Right across the street, the winding paths of Central Park beckoned and I lost myself in the trees for two hours. I met some street musicians, watched lovers embracing on the grass, and sat on a bench as a thunderstorm made its way across Broadway. All in all, it was a perfect day and there was still the matter of a Cowboy Junkies concert.
The band played the NYSEC tonight, which converted a church into a concert hall but kept the pews. The music sounded tight throughout the set. Really tight. Perhaps as a nod to the church setting, “Working On A Building” erupted towards the end of the evening. At one point, the raucous jam hit a peak that I thought would end the song but through the smoke and fire came Al and Pete’s steady groove to propel it further. The show was accentuated by the best lighting of the tour, which draped the band in shadows and let them practice their unique alchemy.
After the show, I wandered down Broadway and found Times Square alive at 1am. With no plan or sense of direction, I managed to walk by Radio City Music Hall and the Ed Sullivan Theater. Everything is in New York. Literally. As I made the walk back to the hotel, a young couple emerged from the subway and stood gazing into each other’s eyes. Everywhere I went in New York City today, there was love to be seen. The lyrics of “Renmin Park” waltzed through my head as I crossed their path and dodged the yellow blurs of angry cabs.