Monday March 26th, 2018
Well, that was a weekend of weekends. I bussed up to Boston on Friday, did a song with Glen Hansard’s band to 2,500 hundred people. Played a sold out show Saturday night at Toad and bussed back to New York.
Prison Phone Call Greyhound Bus Blues
On Friday’s Greyhound bus the driver didn’t make the usual announcements about no boozing, gun cracking or cell phone usage on the bus. About an hour outside of Boston a woman took a call from her boyfriend in prison. The heartbreak of the conversation all the worse for the setting. A rattling packed greyhound bus crawling through Friday evening traffic. The woman was trying to stay clean and hoping she could one day have his children. Alternating between lambasting him and crying. “Fuck you” to “I love you so much.” It was impossible not to hear all of it. It was sad.
Friday Night Lights
I booked a guest house about 15 minute walk from Boston House of Blues. My room was spartan but spotless. A microwave. A TV. A fridge. A sad coffee cup. Carpets and wall paper. It felt very English. Specifically reminded me of a place I stayed in Exeter once. A place that would have been fancy in 1953 but hadn’t changed much since.
Boston House of Blues is directly opposite Boston’s iconic Fenway Park. When I met my friend Paddy Saul at a nearby bar there was already a line about 5 blocks long out the door for Glen’s gig. I’d bought a ticket for this gig before I’d been invited to play. But they couldn’t let me into the venue with my bag. I said I might be on the guest list and sure enough Glen had left two access all area passes and two tickets for me at the door. The venue is gorgeous and huge. I must have walked several miles inside the venue while I paced around nervously before being called up to play. I’d had a quick run through of half the song with Glen in the green room beforehand. Glen and the band were on fire. Really incredibly tight and an excellent set list. The only hiccup in the evening came about when someone at the front fainted. This provided about 15 minutes of tension as the show was stopped while we waited to medical assistance to arrive for the man. Thankfully it turned out that he was fine afterwards. Glen and the band were total pros and it was an inspiration to watch a band of this caliber playing to such a large crowd.
Glen called me up towards the end of the set a little earlier than expected so I had to leg it through the crowd and get back stage and on stage. He and the band fell in with me for ‘May 12th, 1916- A Song for James Connolly’ and it felt great.
Afterwards I talked to so many beautiful Bostonians who very generous and positive in their feedback. I felt confident that the next night’s gig at the comparatively tiny Toad would be a success.
We chatted with Glen and the band for a while afterwards before they made their way back to the tour bus and on to D.C.
Myself and Paddy had a pint and chat around the corner. There was an extremely drunk pilot. I tell ya the more time I spend in bars the more I fear flying.
Full House at Toad
Saturday’s gig at Toad was possibly, probably the best solo gig I’ve had in the US. There was a line out the door of people who couldn’t get in. I had the inside people singing the the outside people. As one twitter follower put it the audience was silent when we needed them silent and loud when I needed them to be loud. I’m confident that the cashiers at CVS across the street might have heard the audience singing during ‘Come on in to the Dark’ .
I sold a load of CDs. Made lots of new fans and got back on the 1am Greyhound bus. The Greyhound is a fine cure for any notions I might have been getting. Back to earth? The Greyhound bus drives there one way and express. Still, if anyone was having a personal crisis on their phone on that trip, I slept through it.