DAY 4: DEAD HEADS & ALL NIGHTERS
Ah Denver. We pulled into town on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. We had been going back and forth for the last 2 days with the promoter that booked us. As far as we knew we were playing at a place called The Donkey OT. It is a bar that is right down by Bronco Stadium. Lots of sports on, lots of chicken wings and pitchers. The perfect kind of place to do drunken Steve Miller Band covers and stick a band sticker to the bathtoom wall. We had been booked to do a 3 hour set of covers and be the bar band for the night. Not the most fulfilling of jobs when you are on tour to play and promote your original music, but still always fun. Being the bar band makes you feel like a total rockstar at times too, which can be a good ego boost. Not because the stage is huge and the lights are great. No. The stage is usually 3 tables moved to the side with a PA set on bar stools. The mics smell like stale beer and you're often paid with food. No, it's the people that do it. To them, you are the best music in the world that night. You are an absolute fricking rock god that shreds so hard that peoples eyebrows begin to smoke. They are so drunk, and so enthusiastic that you cannot do anything other than have a really great time. That is what we had been looking forward to. But things changed last minute and now we were set to play a 1 hour set of originals at the same bar owners other location called Don Quijote, across town. Side note: Donkey OT, and Don Quijote sound identical. Moving on... This place was awesome. two seperate rooms with full bars and full stages and we were opening for a Grateful Dead cover band which I do not remember the name of. The room we played in had a tiki style bar in the corner next to the stage that looked like it belonged next to a pool in cancun somehwere in the sun. The rest of the room had elevated seating with a counter/railing in front of it that circled the outer wall and a large main floor in the middle. The walls were adorned with lights that slowly faded from one color to another to another giving the whole room a very relaxing and yet exciting kind of vibe that was appropriate for listening to a Dead type of band. We went in and set up and sound checked and sent Ian and Devin to run an errand while we waited for Becky to arrive. Becky is Devin's sister and she flew out to Denver earlier that afternoon to surprise Devin and would be continuing on the road with us until we reached Chicago, where she lives. So the boys left and Becky arrived. We hugged and helloed and grabbed drinks and when the boys returned they were greeted by the ever smiling face of Beck McNichol. The night was going well. We had good vibes all around.
The crowds began to show up and the were all clearly here to see the Dead band that played after us. We got on stage, played a set that focused on some of our jammier music and did extended versions with lots of solos and jams in them and held our own pretty well. The set went well and we broke down our gear reloaded the van so that we had room for a fifth person and went back in to hear some Dead. Declining the offer of magic mushroom chocolates as we re-enterd the bar, we stepped into a room transformed. Or at least smokier. There was now a thick haze in the air and the Dead band was wailing away to a Jerry Garcia song and absolutley killing it. They were awesome. We hung around for a bit and listened and then begrudgingly headed out to the van. This night was far from over. It was time to hit the road.
We gathered at Lucy, ate some dinner on her hood, and then piled into the now even cozier interior and headed for the highway. It was 1 AM and we were headed to Dubuque, Iowa via Des Moines and I-80, starting right now. I was wide awake and had not had a single drink all night so I volunteered first shift. Devin who was also sober offered to take second shift and Aaron offered to stay up with me until I switched seats so that we could safeguard against sleeping at the wheel. We pulled onto I-70 East again and hit the road. I drove until around 4 AM when things started to get a bit foggy and I knew it was time to take my turn at some napping. Devin and I swithced places, he got a coffee at a truck stop and we headed out again. I awoke about 3 hours later as he pulled of into the parking lot of a truckstop to sleep some more. We all cuddled cozy like in the van until around 9:30 AM, then took some hobo showers and freshened up and hit the rowad again. It was a long and exciting day, and we were now well into Nebraska.