Tucson and Mesa, AZ (July 12 – 14)
It was 109 degrees in Tucson today. There were a few half-hearted attempts to escape our air conditioned pod, but none were very successful. At one point I decided I needed to at least stretch my legs and get some blood moving, so I headed off for the railway museum which was just a couple of blocks away. It didn’t take long for my skin to start sizzling and my brain to start melting. I tried to take a different route home, basically walking around the block, and I got completely disorientated. Since it was Sunday in downtown Tuscon (and it was 109 degrees outside) there wasn’t anyone on the streets to point me in the right direction. I was pretty sure that I had met my end, death by melting, but a little more staggering around through the baking, empty street of downtown Tucson and I eventually found my way back to the bus. I crawled into my bunk and hid there for a couple of hours like any self-respecting reptile. At one point during my walk I could have sworn that I heard an orchestra tuning up in the distance or some kind of avant-garde music piece being performed. It kind of sounded like the synth at the beginning of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. So I began to walk toward where I thought the music was coming from. When I finally found myself lost and disorientated in amongst the office towers I realized that the music was being created by the din of all of the air conditioning units in the buildings, together they were creating some kind of harmonic which was echoing off the buildings and, it being a Sunday, there was no traffic noise to drown it out. Very strange, I felt like I was walking around in a credit sequence. I told you my brain was melting.
We got news yesterday that Son Volts van never made it off the top of the mountain in Utah. They went to leave and the transmission sprang a leak. While the band stayed behind to wait for the van to get fixed, Jay and Mark flew in to Tucson to do tonight’s show as a duo. They put on a good show for the faithful. We also had a decent show, not great; we were a little tired due to this being our fifth show in five nights. The audience, although it was very sparse, was very supportive. It’s always fun to play this town, even on a Sunday in July with the temperature in triple digits.
It was 113 degrees in Mesa for our day off. It was almost like being in some kind of bizarre reality TV game show: points given for how long you could go for a walk in this heat without completely losing your mind. Pete went for a too long walk, came back to the hotel, stepped in to the elevator and promptly punched his room number, instead of the floor number, into the keypad…..drool.
Some of us decided to stay in air-conditioned environs and went to see Bruno. The drive to the theater almost killed us. The hotel was kind enough to drive us in their shuttle but it had been sitting in the sun all day. It was a 20 minute drive across the barrens of suburban Phoenix….I felt like a suffocating dog. Bruno was disturbing and pretty darn hilarious. It’s a very subversive movie and I doubt that it will do anything close to Borat at the box office. It pushes too many uncomfortable buttons so it probably won’t have the return rate that Borat had. Five of us guys went together and despite the fact that the theater was empty we chose to sit side by side by side.
The gig tonight was at The Mesa Arts Center which is a beautiful venue but probably a bit big for this double –bill. It was a very excited and responsive audience despite it being swamped by the venue. We had an ok show. There were some very good moments and a few average moments. Son Volt rocked. One of the two air conditioning units on the bus has packed it in. This could be a very uncomfortable ride to San Diego.