Chicago, Illinois

I finally managed to get myself into the gym today after an absence of a week, tough going but glad I did it. That's about all I managed today, slept in and mopped up nearly three hours of e-mail's that needed tending to before leaving for tonight's show.

I was born in Chicago, lived here my first 8 years and on the way to the gig we passed many of the places I still remember from childhood, the Chicago Tribune building, Michigan Ave., the Water Towers, Buckingham Fountain, the elevated tracks and of course Lake Michigan. We played the beautiful Auditorium Theatre with its ornate interior of plush reds and gold and several balconies, the highest pitched so steeply that I'd have second thoughts about being up there. Happily, that didn't stop others from occupying that section as well as every other seat in the house, all 3,527 of them. Something about mid-west audiences, they are fantastic and Chicago's was one of the best. The band was loose, relaxed and rocking with so many high points it would be hard to list them all. Everything seemed to be firing on all 12 cylinders tonight.

Before the show, we had a super-sized meet and greet, loads of people. With so many to see there was little time left between that and getting dressed to take the stage. The bowels of this particular theatre are a warren of hallways, zig-zags and fire doors every couple hundred feet. After returning my Hawaiian guitar to the stage, I took a wrong turn going back to the dressing room, walked through one of the doors and as it slammed closed realized I was not where I was supposed to be. The door that just slammed had no handle on my side and was of course locked. Up one flight of stairs I was confronted with a selection of two doors, one with a handle but locked and the other leading out to Congress Parkway and people milling around waiting to get in to the auditoriums main entrance. Outside I went and then realized that I'd taken my backstage pass off before we'd begun the M&G. I walked all round the block and finally found the backstage entrance thinking all the time how I would have to talk my way back in with no pass or have them send for somebody to identify me, all the while the clock is ticking away and the rest of the boys are inside getting dressed for the show. Luckily, monitor man Kerry Lewis was sitting outside having a smoke and got me in. A serious Spinal Tap moment.

After the show we ended up in Mark's room with sandwiches from SubWay, a few drinks and DJfletch at the digital jukebox control board.

So long,