New York City
I took a tip from a fan who'd noticed how much space I devote to food in this travelogue. He told me his favourite Cuban restaurant in the city was Victor's Cafe on 52nd St. W. and Broadway. I walked down there this morning with Danny, Guy and the newly arrived Chuck Ainlay in tow. We arrived at noon just as the place opened for business and it was like walking onto a Cuban veranda in mid-town Manhattan. Fresh fruit juices, Cuban espressos, and ropa vieja. Literally translated 'old clothes', it's beef that's been stewed for hours with garlic, onion, tomatoes and peppers until it falls apart into soft delicious strings. Served with rice, black beans and mashed plantain it was an eye opening way to start our day. The four espressos I had didn't hurt either. Chuck, by the way is the fellow who co-produces, engineers and mixes MK's records, is one of the world's great recording engineers and an old pal from Nashville. He's flown in this morning to hang with us at Radio City.
We got to RCMH about 4 o'clock for a sound check as the stage goes dark from 5 until 7:30 for union reasons. It was a quick spin through a tune and a long wait around. We had a meet and greet in which Guy's new ukulele was the star. Bap Kennedy opened again and we took the stage at 8:50. I've been in the music game a long time and played most of the big venues and theatres, but have to admit to getting a little scared through the first few tunes tonight at the sight of a full house at Radio City Music Hall. It is one of those legendary venues that somehow says "you've arrived" once you've played there and funnily enough I never had before tonight. Things settled down soon enough, the audience was tremendous and all on their feet by the end of the show. As there was a strict union rule about being off stage by 10:55, it was a slightly shorter show and we brought it in just under the wire. Backstage after the show I was pleased and honored to meet John and Catherine Sebastian. John of course is a wonderful songwriter and his wife a photographer. I was a big Lovin' Spoonful fan and still am.
There was a reception at the bar downstairs after the show and I got back to the hotel around 1 in the morning. I realized that I hadn't eaten since our early lunch this afternoon and the thought of getting out in the street looking for something at this hour is just a little more than I can deal with, so it's off to bed. Tomorrow we de-camp from the hotel after five days and head off to a gig in Florence, Mass.