There is nothing, including exhaustion, that a little TLC can’t cure (or at least mitigate): and that is exactly what one receives at the Stone Mountain Arts Center. Carol Noonan and her gang know how to do it right, how to make visiting musicians feel like welcome guests. Carol knows all about the difficulties of the road, because she has travelled it herself, she knows that the lead up to the show and how the day unfolds can make all the difference in a good or bad performance, in a good or bad experience for both band and audience. So she has created this beautiful little oasis tucked away in the Maine woods, where bands can hang out and listen to vinyl, play pool, work on puzzles and eat and eat and eat and eat. She has also done it up right for the audience, who need to drive from many miles around to attend concerts here; it’s a beautiful little venue with excellent food and a very happy and content band on-stage.
I attempted to find some water nearby, but the only place within walking distance was a small mountain pond created by an ancient beaver damn. I had fantasies of some large creature living down at the bottom of a deep forgotten hole, just waiting for me to come along, but the reality was that it was just a beaver pond probably too shallow for anything to live through the winter. I did manage to sink up to my knees in a bog at the side of the pond.
I can’t really say what kind of a show we had. It was definitely a little unfocussed and I struggled to lock onto something or someone. Week seven (or is it eight?) of this very long summer tour is definitely taking its toll…the body at 52 does not recover as quickly as the body at 25. But there were a few in attendance who have seen us three or four times at this venue and they felt this was the best show they had seen….so who knows….I’ll happily go with their assessment and stumble towards our much needed day off.
I think the TV filming really took it out of us. It was a slightly gloomy overcast day in Waterville and we all seemed to be dragging our asses around all day. Al went for a bike ride and I spent some time on the banks of the Kennebec River which flowed right past the venues back door. The smallmouth bass were keen to play, so I had a fun time. I landed three small guys and must have jousted with at least half a dozen of their friends. Nothing too big, but the smallmouth know how to fight…so it was a good afternoon. The venue was the newly restored Waterville Opera House. Another beautiful little theater which has been loving restored. The renovation plans also took in to account the musicians and created a large, clean and functional backstage area. We had no energy for the show, as I said, I think the TV filming sucked out any remaining juice. Margo was dealing with a splitting headache and the band kept it all in a very low revving gear. The audience was also a little subdued (they probably took their cue from us), but they were listening. It was a hard show for me to gauge, I think we played well, but it never really caught fire, and sometimes that is ok.