The last week has been kind of crazy. On Friday night we played in Dallas at the Nokia Theater. This was a show we were looking forward to because we had played there twice before and the shows were amazing. This time, not so much. The crowd was great, but it was what happened onstage that was a travesty, of sorts. Right before we go on I always check to see that my wireless pack is working and the bass makes sound. This show was no different. Things were good and it was a go. Also every night when we get on stage we do this big triumphant hit (in drop D, no less). Well in Dallas everyone made that hit but me; I hoisted my bass in the air, it sort of sizzled, and that was it. No hit, no thunder! In consternation I walked back to my amp and for the rest of the song and part of the next Ethan and I tried to figure out what in the Sam Heck was wrong. I ended up switching basses which was not so good of a move since the new one was not in tune. So basically every note I played I needed to bend up or it would be horribly flat. Disaster. All this at the front of the set sort of jolted us, and we never quite recovered.
We talked all this over the next day and came to the conclusion that it was all down to us failing to properly observe our pre-show ritual. Jon Schneck always gives us a pound on the fist before we go on, saying, “Have a good show, man!”, but that night he got everyone but Dave. We were like a superstitious football player who forgets to kiss his lucky cleats before the game and then trips on a blade of astroturf and sprains his ankle and is out for the whole season and his teammates roll their eyes and think, man, I wish he would have just kissed his lucky cleats and then we could have gone all the way to the Superbowl and gotten some bling for our ringless hands. Yeah, it was like that.
Ok, so boo hoo for us. The next morning in Houston Hoopes and I got up early to do a build with Habitat for Humanity. We’re partnering with them on this tour, and part of that includes us doing a few builds. It was a lot of fun! Aside from the fact that we had to get up by 7am (which is like 3am for a normal person) we were happy with how it went. I had never been on a build before and was a little nervous that I have very little construction-type know-how. But I think the guys running the show expect that and are just happy to have willing though unexperienced helpers. The first thing we helped with was putting trusses on a frame. They were freaking heavy and took many of us to get up there. The other thing we did was to tack down the tarpaper that goes beneath the shingles on another house. You really want to try to be careful with that because if you leave a hole they might end up with a leaky roof. Nobody wants that. Anyway, it was really a good time and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to help out.
Since I got up so early that day I fell asleep right after I got back and Rip-van-Winkle’d it till close to showtime. And boy was it ever showtime! We played for a packed arena, the biggest show of the tour. We got everyone dancing at one point, and when everyone brought out their cell phones it was amazing to see all the tiny little points of light swaying in time with the music. Magical.
A few days later in Baton Rouge we had the whole band come out to do another Habitat build. This one was great because with the band it felt like one of those team-building exercises where you have to figure out how to work as a group to accomplish your shared goals. That day we put up this weird concrete siding onto a house, and I’ve never seen more bungling musicians trying to figure out how to do a simple task in my life. It was great. By the time we had to leave we looked at out meager half-finished wall and were surprised that we’d even accomplished that much. At least the lines we had done were fairly level.
We’re back on the road now after having spent a few days off in Nashville. A few of us have been rocking out to the new Wii Guitar Hero III. Sadly none of us dressed up last night for Halloween (though Jon did dress his dogs up), but my friend James sent me some pictures of his son Octavian going as ME trying to get some candy. Crazy.