Tour Diary – Ithaca and West Long Branch (February 23 and 24)

It’s always hard getting started again and it isn’t getting any easier as the years pile on. One has to put all of those niggling details on hold; tie up any loose ends that won’t keep for a few weeks; help to co-ordinate ones family-life to ease the guilt of leaving. Yes, guilt. It’s not just because you are abandoning your family for 2 ½ weeks, it’s mainly because it’s so darn fun. Bye honey, bye kids…Dad’s going off to Camp. And once you get rolling it’s like you never left.

We start in Ithaca. It’s one of those classic up-state New York cities, but with a twist. From my point of view, upstate New York is one of the most depressing places in the country. Maybe it’s because I live just over the lake and I spend a lot of time travelling through this area, but I am always shocked at how depressed these cities and towns are. Home to the kings and queens of industry 100 years ago and now left behind to rot in all their elegant splendour. The twist with Ithaca is that there is a thriving economy on the hill above it (in the form of Cornell University) and down here in the valley there is a thriving hippie community trying to turn this town around. Let’s hope that the community above supports the community below.

As I have written many times in these diaries: the first night of any tour is always stressful. It all comes down to trying to remember how to do this: how to sleep on a bus, how to spend the day preparing, resting, sightseeing, rehearsing. And that usually takes one or two gigs….so these first night gigs can be a little rough…..very occasionally, transcendent. Tonight we were just ok. We kept it together, we did our gig, we definitely worked hard and I think most of the audience had a good time. But we were just ok.

West Long Branch
Sometimes all it takes is one gig to shake off the rust. Tonight we were way better than ok. We were in Bruce’s hood and were well aware of it. The house where he wrote Born to Run, Thunder Road and Backstreets was just around the corner (

It rained and snowed and sleeted and haled all day. Horrible. Margo and I did a really good interview at Brookdale College’s public radio station, 90.5. It so refreshing to do an interview where the one asking the questions actually gives a shit about your answer, is actually interested in your music and is curious about it. Thank you Rich Robinson.

We had a rockin’ good gig tonight. A small but mighty crowd. Camp is fun.