We played the Montalvo Arts Centre a few years ago as part of a Summer tour with Son Volt. That gig took place in the outdoor venue, but this time we are a little early for the summer series so we are indoors in The Carriage House. Nevertheless the Art Centre is an incredible property to hang around for the day. It's centered around an Italian-Mediterranean style mansion built in the early 1900's and set on 175 acres. You can stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens or wander up the hillside through a red-wood forest. I went for a walk up the hill and spotted a Steller Jay (which we don't have back East), a handful of dark-eyed Junco's and a few warblers that I wasn't able to identify. I spent the rest of my pre-soundcheck day in a small garden with my new Ukulele….it was a good day. Unfortunately, back at the venue, John and Jared were not having as much luck. The venue crew, and more specifically, the production manager, were being prickly and difficult, which at the end of a long tour is the last thing one wants to deal with. Despite the unnecessary and unhelpful hostility we did our part and got the job done. It was a good audience tonight and I think it was a decent show, we are running on fumes at this point so its hard for me to gain any perspective. One more show to go.
JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S SARATOGA DIARY.
Somewhere in the hills around Saratoga sits Mountain Winery, a beautiful venue the band played in years past before it expanded seating to accommodate large tours. I have fond memories of this area as a result. Today found us in downtown Saratoga, a city which boasts one of the twenty richest zip codes in America. Exotic cars silently crawled down the streets past high end boutiques and art galleries. Originally a tourist destination built upon the mineral springs in the area, the town has become a haven for the money flowing from Silicon Valley. The security card that stood outside the bank the entire time we were in town probably has the least exciting job in the world.
Tonight’s show was above downtown at a sprawling arts center that included immaculate gardens, winding trails through the countryside, and some of the most anxious staff I’ve encountered at a concert. Every once in awhile, the rock and roll circus arrives at a venue accustomed to more restrained performances and audiences. No matter how many times my chair was moved by the usher due to fire code concerns, I just kept laughing and rolling with the day. There’s no use getting upset over such silly details when there’s music to hear and beautiful trails to explore. The band played the carriage house which is fancy speak for a restored barn, I think. It was an intimate performance highlighted by rarities such as “Five Room Love Story” and “A Few Simple Words” as the band continued working their way through the many requests on this tour. After the show, we returned to downtown to find it already asleep and our drunken dreams of pizza, or even a gas station burrito, were dashed.