Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 17 October, 2015
It was a short mid-afternoon flight to Philadelphia, so short that no food was served, leaving Guy who’d been working out in the gym to devour a jar of cashews.
I was on a mission for a Philly cheesesteak. After we soundchecked Jim, Mike and I walked a few blocks to Steve’s Prince of Steaks, a funky walk-in with aluminium tables and stools. The griddle was greasy, the meat hand sliced and trimmed, plenty of provolone cheese, grilled onions and peppers. The roll it was served on was soft inside and chewy outside. I will no doubt get loads of suggestions as to where we should have gone, but this was in the neighbourhood and tasted pretty damn good to us.
Tonight’s venue, The Academy of Music is the oldest opera house in the U.S. still used for it’s original purpose. Built between 1855 and 1857 it’s home to Opera Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet and from 1900 until 2001 to The Philadelphia Orchestra. Among the greats to have graced it’s stage are Caruso, Aaron Copland Gustav Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Artur Rubenstein, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky… you get the picture. The Academy has often been criticised for it dry sound and apparently after some remodelling in the mid-50s, Eugene Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra’s leader refused to record there any longer. Regardless it is a remarkably beautiful theatre that holds a capacity audience of 2,825.
We walked out to a warm reception, people were glad to be there and so were we. It was a perfect storm of a gig with the band and audience in synch. There were a few minor technical glitches with Mark’s guitar and my own, but it didn’t matter. It was a wonderful evening of playing good music for good people.
The runner back to N.Y. again, too short for food. We got back to the hotel and I was ready for a slice of pizza. Glenn joined my for a quick walk down 7 Ave. to Ray’s for a slice and a beer. Got back to the hotel and the bar was so civilised for a Saturday that I just couldn’t not have a martini night cap.
It’s the gym in the morning and a gig in Washington D.C. tomorrow evening.