Tour Diary – Providence, RI (May 12, 2010)
(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.)
When I opened my eyes today, Lake Champlain shimmered across my horizon as I looked out from the hotel window. The day started promising and went south from there, both geographically and metaphorically. Arriving in Providence, the venue was situated in an industrial area of abandoned factories and a dreary waterfront. It felt like the town had started to rehabilitate the area but then lost interest or investment capital.
Driving around the city, I never gained traction on what the city is about or where people spend their time. The one strip of quirky stores and restaurants a few blocks from the university was absent of people. Our first attempt at lunch was thwarted when the waitress informed us the cook had left so we couldn’t order off the menu. Rhode Island, a great place to do laundry.
Tonight’s club was a faux upscale restaurant with a stage in the corner. Everything was designed and operated with the bottom line of the venue as the sole beneficiary. My enquiries about seating were met with harsh words by the manager so I just pulled a stool close to the side of the stage and hung out. The staff looked overmatched as guests clamored to send back their undercooked filet mignon and order more beer as the show began. The after show meet and greet was relocated outside as everybody was anxious to leave the negative vibes of the restaurant behind.
The band took the stage with the Montreal Canadiens up 4-0 early in the second period so spirits were high. In the first set, the country twinge to the live version of “My Fall” moved with the crisp, concise energy of a single that is climbing the radio charts (if such things still happen in music). The debut of “Cicadas” worked perfectly as the crowd chatter unintentionally added an extra layer of murmuring to the song’s swarming atmosphere. A great night of music, a huge game seven victory by Montreal, and a drive out of Providence to a familiar futon. We’re chalking today up as another win on the road.