(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 end of the tour sat in Cleveland and I awoke in Chicago. I added some friends to the Honda Civic and speed limits were merely suggestions as we raced across the Midwest to make the final show. We arrived just in time to taste the infamous sausages at Skippy’s tailgate festival. Great food, new and old friends, and Margo in a pink Snuggie made for a memorable afternoon in a Cleveland alley.
The downtown area of Cleveland felt vacant and the economic downturn was evident everywhere you went. The new baseball and basketball stadiums loomed over the area but there were few signs of life for a city so large. A few blocks from the stadiums, the playhouse district housed at least five theaters and Cowboy Junkies were playing in one of the larger rooms. The restored theater was a stark contrast to the rock club from last night.
Finishing an eleven-show run in only ten nights, the band’s set stayed with the most reliable material from the tour. The sound was pristine and Al’s bass lines were especially noticeable throughout the night. Joining the tour for the final stop was Lee Harvey Osmond who played a dark and stormy collection of tunes to set the mood for the evening.
Morning in Cleveland brought cold and rainy weather as a small herd of fans headed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Bruce Springsteen exhibit took up most of the visit and seeing the handwritten lyrics of some of the most important songs in music history felt like a religious moment.
A six-hour drive brought me back to Chicago and the end of the first leg of the 2010 tour. It covered over 3,000 miles but I was never more than eight hours from Chicago. The band played a new show every night and each venue had a unique personality that colored the experience. The end of these little tours is usually met with sadness as the real world drags me back under. This time, I’ll be remaining at sea until the band comes ashore in Buffalo, NY next month. I hope to see you there!