Albany, New York
A late one last night after the gig, Tim O'Brien, Mike McGoldrick and I went to Cassidy's Pub just down the street, didn't get in there 'til one in the morning. There had been a traditional Irish session, music until ?? When we got there the guys had already quit and packed their instruments. Mike McGoldrick knew the fellow who played Uilleann pipes since he was a kid back home in Manchester, England. Out came the pints and out came the instruments for some of the most fabulous traditional Irish music I've ever heard. I didn't get back to the hotel until well past 3 o'clock this morning.
This being the last day of the U.S. leg of the tour, I laid very low, slept, practised and slept some more until it was time to take the cars to meet the Legacy and fly north to Albany.
Tonight's venue, The Palace Theatre, opened it's doors in 1931 and was indeed a palace. An RKO theatre, they spared no expense on this vaudeville/movie house. It did good business in spite of the depression and indeed through the second world war, however after the war it began a slow decline. It was sold to a private owner in the 1970's and was restored to it's former glory including it's original art and sculpted walls in 2002-2003. It was a nice way to play the final show, I'm glad we didn't end it last night in the casino. MK in great form, ditto the band, ditto the fantastic audience who really wanted to be there.
We bid farewell to Pieta Brown and Bo Ramsey tonight, they will not be with us in the U.K. and Europe. We've all grown so fond of them, both professionally and as friends. It's worth your time to check out their CDs.
Also, it was Tim O'Brien's last show. He will be returning to his own solo career in a couple of weeks which will include a performance at Bonnaroo with his long time band, Hot Rize. Tim has brought a load of great new information to the band, not the least of which is his keening banjo that we'll all miss. Seek out Tim's music as well.
A goodbye to Steve Ricalis who normally tours with us through Europe as part of the travelling catering maestros. He came on the US leg to oversee the American catering and we all noticed a huge difference. Steve also took on a hundred other tasks and will be sorely missed as he's going back on tour with Green Day in a couple of weeks. Thank you Steve and safe travels.
It was adios to our very best air hostess ever, Dianne. She anticipated every wish and was never frazzled and always came up with great food and drinks. Wish we could take her to Europe. Finally, a goodbye to our pilots Steve and Brian who flew the many miles and always kissed down perfectly on the runway.
I'll be home for a week helping put our house back in order after the flood of the basement last weekend as well as picking up our youngest son from Knoxville, where he's finishing his junior year at university, and moving him back home for summer break. I will pick these notes up again when the tour resumes in Dublin in a little over a week.