(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.)
Tonight was the fifth night in a row for the band and the last night of the New England tour. Coming off some weird towns in Connecticut, a good day in Great Barrington was needed to end strong. The beautiful town delivered on every count. The downtown area bustled with life and character. Ice cream parlors, bookstores, and vintage clothing were just a few of the attractions. The locals have carved a trail along the river that cuts through private property and gives everyone access to the slowly flowing water. Arriving early in the afternoon, there was not nearly enough time to enjoy all of Great Barrington.
The Mahaiwe Theater is tucked just off the main drag and the restoration work was done perfectly. The room is beautiful without sacrificing what made it special when it first opened in 1905. Much like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets Show, Ed and I watched the show from the small balconies overlooking the room. At many restored theaters, these balconies house lighting rigs or are simply boarded over. Being able to sit in the perch and watch the band interact musically added to a perfect evening.
Local singer-songwriter Adam Michael Rothberg opened the night with songs of love and hope. The exuberance of playing guitar and singing songs could be felt in every note he strummed. There was no agenda to his music, just a man singing songs he wrote. The music felt like a soundtrack to this beautiful town and provided a nice musical bridge into the Junkies set.
On a final night when many bands are firing up the tour bus halfway through the set, the Junkies once again dug deep and played with a sense of urgency. A few nights ago, “Me & the Devil” appeared on stage and the current touring line-up with Aaron on pedal steel brought a blood red ferocity to the song. Tonight, it reached its peak with the sound engineer sliding some effects under Margo’s vocal that turned this version into a sonic riot. When a breathless Margo delivered the final lines of “Good Friday,” the end of the tour crept back into view and it was time to say goodbye.
Those who follow this band know that each tour feels unique and that the music never stops evolving. Each of these runs has a personality all its own that is colored by the towns, the venues, and the audiences. When I look back at all these years of touring, this short expedition through New England is going to be remembered fondly. It did not surprise me that Cookie Bob and Crazy Ed were fantastic friends to share this journey with. As Ed mentioned to the band, good people attract other good people and we’re blessed that the nucleus of Cowboy Junkies continues to pull us all together. More true words have never been spoken.