Agoura Hills, CA
I'm not sure what it is about Southern California, but I anticipate this part of any tour itinerary more than most. I think its because I've yet to figure out what Southern California is…a paradise by the sea or a glimpse in to the decline? Every time I'm here I can smell the rot, but I can also smell the sea and the blooming Jacaranda trees…what is it about this concrete encampment that is so enticing? I love it I hate it I love it I hate it daughter sister daughter sister (a Chinatown reference for those of you not up on your American Film Classics)….Our visits here are always fun and weird…two important ingredients of any successful tour. And the audiences play against type and are attentive, demonstrative and usually show up in large numbers….another important ingredient….and you can't beat the weather.
We started in Agoura Hills, an area where we haven't spent much time, about 50 miles up the highway from The Staples Center. Because of the time difference Jared, Jeff, Pete and I woke up early and went for a drive. We found a couple of beaches and a vista or two to gaze upon. This part of the region still has some natural beauty, but you can feel it being pinched. We played a venue we've never played and had a respectably sized audience who were keen and energetic. They allowed us to work through some first gig jitters and kept us buoyed with their energy. A nice start.
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Its when you finally make it south of the Staples Centers, that humanity in all our Glory (yes, that means you too) have really put our stamp on the territory. Lots of concrete, highways, foundations…the blunt force of human presence. If you were to arrive here as an alien anthropologist you would probably assume that the car was the dominant species….because it is. Mile upon mile of concrete infrastructure all to the service of the automobile. It's not that I'm not use to traffic (my beloved city of Toronto is choking itself to death with its traffic) it's the scale of it down here that is stupefying.
We played the Coach House tonight. This club was an early home of ours when we first started coming to Southern California. We have always had great crowds here and tonight was no different. It would be good if the club could spend a bit of money on upgrading their PA system…their patrons deserve it. We had a great night. Backstage, we watched the Kings lift the Cup on an old vacuum-tube TV (remember those?)…and then we had a very good night on stage, helped along by an excellent audience.
The 2014 World Cup kicked off to coincide with the tours kickoff (I'm pretty sure FIFA planned it that way). We watched the opening game in our Agoura Hills hotel lobby. It looked like someone had paid someone to make sure that the host country, Brazil, won in a convincing manner…I figure that all one needs to do is buy a ref and a goalie to influence the outcome of a soccer game. As we waited for our rooms in San Juan Capistrano we went to a local bar and watched 2010 finalists, Denmark, work out four years of pent up rage as they dismantled the 2010 victors, Spain. It has been a great start to the tournament with lots of goals and lead changes. I've decided to adopt Argentina as my team. I'd like to see Messi ascend to the pantheon of soccer greats and the only way he will ever be allowed entrance is if he brings home a world cup. Game on.