It is difficult to imagine a better finish to a "Rocky" start for our short Colorado tour.
Thursday the 8th of August, we hit the road for Boston's Logan Airport at 4 a.m. Our fill-in guitarist Amos Sanfilippo picked Keith (drums) and Ken (vocals) up and we all collected for the flight, groggy and laughing at the hour. Scott (keyboards), John (Bass) and Dave (Stage Mgr, Dir of Misc, Global VP of Non Descript duties) came to Logan separately.
We were booked on Spirit Airlines (The Washington Generals of flight) so yes, we took out loans so we could bring our luggage and instruments.
Denver Via Baltimore and Minneapolis, we ended up doing this Clark Griswold kind of circular holding pattern over Wyoming as Denver air traffic control advised the airliner to stay back while a Rocky Mountain storm blew through.
We touched down at 6 p.m. Mountain time and arrived two hours late for soundcheck at Hoffbrau's in Westminster.
Once there, we met Ron the sound tech, Paul the backline vendor, some of the staff and the owner Ken. Ken is to us, a legit western cowboy type. One of those no nonsense guys who is probably successful at whatever he does. His staff loves him. He was a gracious host; top shelf.
One had to be impressed with the venue. Great stage, sound and light production in a sizable, attractive room, easily good enough for national acts. Ken was wise in his hirings. For example a witty blonde chick from Brooklyn, NY for his bar. A "New York minute", is a saying for a reason. She was fast, funny, friendly and made it look easy as she and her compadres kept up with the full house.
They fed us in Ken's office which he converted to our green room, with every possible thing there that we could possibly use. The food was outstanding. A quality opening act warmed the crowd up great. Forgive the lapse of memory as we can't seem to recall their name. Steve and the .... hmmm. One of us or the other must have said one-hundred times "Damn, that guy can sing."
The crowd was great. Very responsive and make no mistake, Westminster, Colorado loves their rock n roll. We left, hopefully with a very happy owner, staff and audience. One down, two to go.
We hit the road running at 8:30 a.m., after traveling for 17 hours the day before, it was an 8 1/2 hour drive to Montrose for that city's 5th annual FuncFest. We took the southern route on the way out and the views were spectabulous!
Okay, scenic, long ass ride over, we all had bowling ball size bladders when we got there. If you haven't been, they warn you to load up with water to avoid altitude sickness. We climbed out of the white Suburban and it was basically every man for himself to the men's room. I remember being pointing away from the band's trailer and Ken saying, "Isn't that Meghan Fox?" After realizing what happened, the band quickly recovered from the obvious trick, whipped their heads around and saw the bathroom door shut. We kind of blew off the small welcome party that formed impromptu as we suffered in the longest 4 minute bathroom line in history.
Sound guys were really good! Met with the city's rotating and current mayor, Dave Bowman who found us on the Internet and signed the band last Spring. Kate Adams was our liaison and took care of the band. Witty, bright and cooler than the other side of the pillow. Really warm and welcoming people out there. We were kind of taken back as we are accustomed to getting the Masshole treatment at some point during the day.
A much larger crowd on this night, we had a good show if we may say so. We contoured the show to a strength of Bon Jovi's catalogue which is western rock. Deep cuts like Lost Highway, Sleep When I'm Dead were on the set list as well as Wanted: Dead or Alive, Blaze of Glory.
Montrose has a very unassuming nightlife but if you know where to go, a very good one including a prohibition style "speak easy". You literally had to know the code. We chose bassist John Miker to say it and he walked up to the great big wooden door with the small steel grille which had a gentleman waiting on the other side. John, in his West Virginian accent (for some reason) whispered, "I'm here to see the blind pig."
The door opened with a sound that would make Winterfell proud. Inside was a picturesque, dark club with quality leather furniture, an L-shaped bar with 12 stools and dim lighting. Four dudes were at the bar. We all ordered a whiskey drink of one kind or another. We eventually made it back to our hotel, a Holiday Inn Express and snoozed until we had to hit the road.
This time, we took the Northern route back to east Colorado where we were expected for soundcheck in Parker at 5:00 p.m. We stopped in this opulent Vail Village where Bill Gates is considered middle class. Dave had to piss so we pulled in and it was then we realized our mistake. We were driving a domestic SUV so the police began to focus.
Bald dude's in suit jackets and black sunglasses were converging on our immediate area, talking into their wrist watches. Mothers were ushering their kids into a Marmot's until we were out of sight. When Dave got out he was not wearing the Vail customary pastel khaki pants. Nope. He had a black LBN tank top and cut off jean shorts. Someone sized him up and handed him a rake the second his feet hit the ground..
We politely corrected a perfectly polite mature woman whose shoes cost more than the 2019 Suburban we were in. Scott insisted that, "No, we are not the Mexicans you ordered lady. Look he's blonde and I get sunburns from a full moon." She still made us trim her hedges.
Dave got lost in the small boutique riddled hamlet and so John "I am no Magellan" Miker got out to search for him. Oh, yeah, that's going to be one heckuva rescue. Clearly, you understand we were once again behind schedule. Once in the car and as we approached an endless sea of wealthy, older, lily white people on the way out of town, we blasted Steel Panther's Tomorrow Night out of the windows and filmed their expressions (this last part is true).
Again, superb and kind of different terrain than the southern route, made the long trip seem much shorter. This was kind of like Wile E Coyote territory. Ain't gonna lie...we were a little worried about that tunnel given the steady diet of Looney Tunes we were exposed to as kids.
We arrived to Parker, Colorado which is about 35 minutes south of Denver and Parker is a happening town. We happened to be performing The Tailgate Tavern Summer Concert Series, which was the place to be on August 10th. Some 11,500 responded to our event and the place was beyond packed and all tables taken by 3:00 p.m for our 7:30 p.m. show time.
Terrific local band called "Kelly Said" opened for us and did a superb job warming the crowd up, as well as providing our backline. *Thanks again Keith!
Once again, sound guy (Junior) was a good pro, stage volume and the mix were perfect. John Jordan and his partners at the Tailgate Tavern were gracious hosts. Gave us a feast for dinner and wouldn't let us buy a drink all night, even after the show. (What was that line in Billy Joel's Piano Man?)
Our third show in three nights, we were really getting tighter with Amos on stage and had another strong show. With a city sound ordinance, we were done by 10 p.m. and got to hang out and hang out with our good friends who came to the show all the way from Massachusetts. We also met many new fans and it is tough to imagine that we won't be back.
Lots of road, lots of time in the air but all worth it for rock and rollers.