Bend, OR: It would be difficult to find a nicer town than Bend for a day off: lots of locally owned shops, good coffee, a brew pub on every corner and a beautiful river cutting through the town with a huge public park along its banks. We stayed at a very funky (in a good way) hotel…the building and compound once housed an old school and it has been converted with warmth, comfort and history in mind: a nice combination The many different bars and restaurants at the hotel seem to attract the locals, which is also a good thing. There seems to be a bit of money in this little enclave in Central Oregon. We had a sold out show tonight with a very receptive audience and we delivered. A very refreshing couple of days.
Portland, OR: It was a very full day in Portland, one of my favourite cities in the US. We arrived early in the morning, so Tim and I took the opportunity to head over to the Doug Fir restaurant for a very tasty breakfast. Jeff, Margo and I then headed downtown to KINK-FM for a live performance in their new, beautifully put together, performance space. Jeff and I then headed over to Powell’s, the greatest bookstore in the freakin’ world, where I kept a check on my impulses and successfully kept my bill well below $100. Then it was back to the Aladdin Theater for soundcheck and the show. It wasn’t sold-out tonight which is a little worrying because Portland has always been such a great town for us. Perhaps we have been through here a little too often in the past few years. In any case, those who did show up were in fine form and more than succeeded in holding up Portland’s rep as having some of the best audiences in the US. We had a very, very fun night.
Grant’s Pass, OR: We have definitely stayed in this town before but I don’t think we have actually played the town. After tonight I have a strong feeling that we’ll never play here again. A shockingly thin audience tonight. The numbers were kind of confounding to us and the promoter, but if the town itself is any indication, this area has been hit hard by the recession: a lot of empty windows on Main Street and way too many pawn shops, thrift stores and so-called antique stores, a sure sign that there are many people around here in desperate need of cash. It’s a beautiful area, though, with some spectacular white water rafting and hiking nearby and all sorts of other healthy, fun and dangerous things to do. Tonight was not a good night on-stage, despite performing a triple shot of Neil during the set….as the song says, ‘we tried to do our best but we could not”.