Just Another Walk In The Park

Hey all, hope everything in your lives are remaining positive and moving forward. As Fall nears, as I am embarking on a bit of a new dawn,  I find myself feeling both fear and excitement. I promise more will come regarding this. Stay tuned and think, “Delta Soul”.
I thought instead of my traditional blog, I would opt to take you through my weekend, being that it was the first time to fly commercial out of my “officially once again”, fabulous hometown of Greenville Mississippi. I wanted to take you though the whole experience on what a supposedely normal weekend of fly dates are like, rather than being on the bus heading to gigs. So here we go, strap in (seriuosly) and enjoy the ride.
Note: the times may not all be spot on, I’ll do the best I can. Cool? Thanks!

Aug 18
7pm: my family and I go to my old high school St. Joe’s traditional home opener verses rival Riverside Bulldogs.
It’s fantastic and it reminds me more of a “Friday Night Lights” vibe rather than the big school Nashville school system games we had grown accustom to. My Irish prevail 21-20.

10:30pm:  we get back home and I pack up my bags and guitars for the weekend of shows. All is calm!

Aug 19
4am: alarm sounds, I’m good with it. I had already woken shortly before anticipating the day at hand. I hit the snooze a time or two, (waka waka woo da di da). That’s the sound my alarm makes…

4:18am: I rise, (brush teeth first thing as always, just needed to clarify) and do my quick 20 minute head to toe workout.  (hate doing it, but have to)

4:35am: shower and get ready.

5:01am: brew up a pot of coffee and grab 2 to go cups and  head to airport with my wife at the wheel to deliver me there.

5:20am: arrive at Greenville Airport, it’s charming actually.
I see my cousin and her husband who are one of the 10 passengers on board connecting in Memphis. They are headed to Vegas, I am headed to do a show in Souix Falls, South Dakota for Sanford Children’s Hospital and debut the song I wrote and recorded for them, “Our Castle Is Your Home”.

5:45m: a very kind “welcome back home Steve”, from the Cop on duty there, and the airline peeps, always a good feeling.

6:30am: the plane takes off, I dose a bit. Okay more than a bit.

7:10am: i wake to the wheels touching down in Memphis. My arrival gate is at one end of the airport and what would you know, departure gate is at the extreme other end. So my journey on foot begins. Pass one rib joint after the other, the Elvis store I think, and almost get knocked down by a  couple racing to make their flight, (remmber this), and etc etc.

9:15am: i board my connection to Minneapolis

9:30am: plane is making final turn before take off and there is a bang outside our aircraft. Uh oh!!! Captain tells us we have to turn around and go back to the gate to see what it was.

10am: they determine it’s a break cable that has broken and long story short, the part has to come from Atlanta.
I immediately call BT, Ride’s bossman and fill him in, as we discuss options of what would be best to do. The choices are few to say the least and making my show was now a serious concern. My guys, Mark and Jason are in transit from Nashville and word is they are on schedule.

10:30am: I rebook myself on the 3:30pm flight, best I could do and is really the  only option available for me. The agent on the phone I have to say is a delight and she does everything she can to help, so Cathy with a C, thanks for that.  Now 6:30pm would  be my arrival time in Souix Falls, even though my show is at 9pm, I desperately needed to get there to rehearse with the children from the hospital who actually sang on the record. They are a big part of our performance and this was vital if we were going to pull it off.

11am: Casey, just one of the many Sanford gems, informs me they are sending a charter plane to get me, and that we can’t take a chance. It bothers me they have to spend this extra money to get me there but after thinking it through, it’s the right thing.

1:15pm: plane arrives, I board it alone with the two very good pilots and pull out my IPad for a little movie action! My choice is “Limitless”. Ears covered with my Bose speakers, an ice cold diet coke in hand and some chips, I rest my mind for a couple hours and just enjoy.

3:15pm: we land, I’m in Souix Falls and can make my 4pm soundcheck! Fabulous

4pm: sound check is running late, who would of thought a hand full of hours early I’d actually get there before the stage crew and sound company were ready. Wow!!!

5:15pm: We finally get to soundcheck, and the kids did great so it was off to the hotel we went.

6:12pm: I arrive at hotel, i remember exactly what time it was because i was being picked up at 7:15…so every minute counted. I grab a shower and get ready to meet back at the venue for a meet and greet at 7:30pm

9:15pm we take the stage. All that sound checking we did would be to no avail. I’m introduced by the President of Sanford Health, a great guy by the way, only problem is my guitar is not working. Monitor guy has Mark’s blaring through my wedge and I’m now in talk mode to the crowd, stalling as they try and Figure out the problem. Hey, after as long as I’ve been doing this, its never uneasy for me to deal with technical difficulties, its part of the deal and the way it goes sometimes. Also those of you wo know me, know I’m a talker. It does however seem to kill the buzz if i may, of the “lets go get’em boys” attitude, ya know.
Finally,  I have a glimpse of sound and just have to start, hoping the sound guy out front has me on for the crowd to hear. But Mark’s guitar is still on fire in my wedge, i mean loud, and I’m struggling through the first couple songs to hear mine. 3 songs in it seems to get right, but would take a number of turns for better or worse through the night. Performance wise I’d give us a C plus. There were simply to many stage distractions to be on our game. Hey, I’ll work on it! Bottom line this night was about celebrating this great hospital and the kids they impact. That went as planned.

10pm: set finishes up with the kids on stage, wonderful as expected and fireworks close out the night under a mystical Souix Falls sky.

10:30pm: the after party begins, I’m brought over to a hip little joint for a beverage and some conversation.

Aug 20:
Midnight: I slip out because I know it’s gonna be another early up and At’em!

12:15am I decide to workout and get it over with, then shower and get a few brief but solid hours of rest.

1am: try and find a pulse, I’m out cold.

3:45am alarm sounds, (waka waka woo da di da) I hit snooze a few times then drag myself into the shower and get ready.

4:30am shuttle to airport! Do it all over again, checkin, security, coffee and a muffin, and wait to board.

6am: we  board plane back to Minneapolis, our connecting city.

7:15am: we arrive safe and sound. Myself, Mark and Jason grab a bite to eat. We know it’s gonna be around a 4 hour flight, so me and Mark find pizza and Jason jets on over to burger king!

9:15am: we board aircraft i watch “limitless”, again, dose in and out and arrive in Portland, Oregon.

11am: head down to baggage then go outside to wait on our driver to show up. She does and we proceed to our hotel to check in, throw our bags in the room then drive to the show in Brownsville, about an hour and forty five minutes away.
Our hotel was only 10 minutes from the airport! But with traffic, street closings, and our driver lack of knowledge of he the area, it wound up taking us TWO HOURS to get there. Sorry for screaming, needed to get it out:) by the way, our driver was a sweetheart!

1:15pm: we finally get to the hotel, of course our rooms are not ready. All that riding around for nothing. So we grab some jack in the box and start yet another drive, this time to the venue. Another 2 hours pass…I can’t feel my legs. (help)

3:15pm: we arrive, praise the Lord, Amen!

4:pm: I do my meet and greet, fans were great as always.

5pm: we take the stage, show went really nice and then I head over to sign some autographs and meet the people for an hour or so, always enjoy that part, no matter what.

7:15pm I head back to the group of rv’s they had lined up for, Alan Jackson, Phil Vassar and me and the boys, change and we make the drive back to Portland.

9:pm: we arrive back to the hotel.

9:30pm: We get cleaned up, and go find a little Mexican food and a wind down drink. It hits the spot!

11:30pm it hits me, dog tired. So I shower, do an abbreviated version of my silly workout, set my alarm, turn on the TV and fall fast asleep to ESPN.

Aug 21:
3:45am: I know I know, what’s with all these early flights! I wake to the lovely sound of, yes you guessed it! (waka waka woo da di da). I get up, get ready, grab my hat, throw on clothes, grab my bags, jump in taxi, check in, security, coffee, some fruit and get to my gate. Shortly after we board the plane, It’s “Limitless” again my movie of the weekend obviously.

12:22 pm: we touchdown in Houston and we are 40 minutes late. i see the gate out my window as we pass it by. Come on, whats the chance we would continue to taxi for another 15 minutes, all the way to the E gate and what’s the chance it’s the last possible Gate? All I remember is E-70 something.  I had only 8 minutes to catch my connection to Little Rock so I decide to attempt an airport OJ! (just like that couple in Memphis) a full sprint, almost a mile, I go down the escalator and catch the train to A! Had to stop at B first…of course…I get to the gate to see the jetway pulling back from the plane. “Dang and a few other four letter words later (sorry I couldn’t help myself), I miss it………

2:47pm: I board my rebooked final flight, finally into Little Rock. the air condition is out on the plane we are informed. It’s only 100 degrees outside so I’m cool with it. Right?!?
And just as we start to taxi out, in the middle of the airline attendant going though the safety features, she stops quickly and says, “Sir you have to get back in your seat! Sir…Sir”…to no prevail. This guy behind me has decided he needs to go to the bathroom! Triple wow! She stops, gets on phone to call the Captain. He stops the plane!
We all wait on him to get out, and when he does he’s staggering to his seat. I mean bless his heart, he was at least 15 sheets in the wind. He made it to his seat, and the attendant goes back to talk to him. Conversation seems to of gone well so she comes back up, assured the Captain everything is alright and both pick up where they left off.

4:06pm: we land! Cops are waiting to get the hammered guy that delayed our arrival! More delay!  I walk off the plane, flat out dizzy from the whole weekend and who is the first guy i see? My dear friend and old room mate from college Doug. The man who was the inspiration behind “i don’t have to be me til monday. I mean what a way to finish the weekend. After all the things that went wrong, this was like… All is good in the world. We talked for a bit, got a big ol hug and said goodbye. I go to straight to baggage with a bewildered smile across my face to claim all my stuff.  I hop in the car, kiss my wife (twice) and my baby girl  (twice) who’s there to just get me back home.

On the way back I’m thinking, ” you know, nothing is ever perfect”. You deal with what comes along the best you can. That’s just the way it is…
And sometimes a walk in the park could very well include being mugged, or stepping in dog poo, or what about ducks coming after you all mad and stuff because you forgot to bring them bread, or…or…or…okay I’m out of control now. Just trying to add a bit of fun to all this strange goings on!  Speaking of fun, I’d like to thank my main man Al and sidekick Jason. Al had me laughing so hard when I was on the phone with him after the show in Portland, then shortly followed by the closing act, Jason. It was like instant fix! Man, I love to laugh, and those two bring tears of joy to my eyes, crunches to my abs, and can put a smile on my face anytime, anywhere under any circumstance. Too too good, so much love to the both of ya!

Can i say home sweet home! Come on come on! Instead of Counting Crows, I’m counting miles down, like a child again!

That’s it, that’s all of it. Thanks for allowing me to share, my “just another walk in the park”, weekend extravaganza. I loved every last minute of it! Sleep? Who needs it!

Be well

Steve

Sorry if my grammar and tenses might be not so great, I’m too exhausted to really review over. I’d rather you get this now….