Archive for March, 2008

PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – PEORIA, IL

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

Our day in Peoria was fairly uneventful. With the assistance of a great crew – Bob, Dan, Dan, Aaron, Gary, and Justin – we managed to get the show up fairly smoothly. We did encounter some issues with our intelligent lighting due to the odd placement and design of this theatre’s catwalks and electrics. After a few trial-and-error things, I decided it was best to sacrifice the “rock-n-roll” feel of the show a bit and hang the fixtures differently than normal. In the end, it worked out well. We were able to keep the aesthetics of the show on the edgy side and still keep the theatre elements strong. Doors would open at 7pm and we were ready to go by 5:45pm. That’s a good day!

There was a very nice article in the Peoria Star Journal on Thursday (March 6) from an interview I did a couple of weeks ago. This generated tons of phone calls to the box office but, unfortunately, the show was already sold out. Still, it was nice to have the feature and support of the local media.

The audience was a great mix of ages and our on-stage volunteers added a nice element of surprise and spontaneity to the show! We also had some guests who had driven down from the Chicago area. John Hosier is a guy that Cindy and I knew in college so it’s been many years since we’re last seen him. He brought along his daughter and she brought along a friend. It’s always fun to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while. Steve Chezaday also made the 2 1/2 hour drive down from Naperville to see the show. We had the chance to visit for a brief time after the show and again after we were loaded out. I gave him the tour of the rig, we talked, and he was on his way. I was hoping he would be able to join us for a bit at the “Steak n Shake” but he had a long drive ahead of him. Next time!

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This morning, Cindy and Keith left for the Peoria airport to make the flight back to Virginia. Nolan and I will be driving the truck to Kansas City today. We will fly home tomorrow to tackle a few projects in the office this week before the long arm of the tour begins on March 19. Two months on the road, coast to coast. I hope to meet some of you along the way!

UNEXPECTED SURPRISES

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Nolan and I arrived in Peoria in the mid afternoon on Wednesday. Unfortunately, Cindy and Keith had some issues at the airport with weather delays and were moved from Northwest Airlines to United, routed from Detroit to Chicago – where they endured a four hour layover at one of the busiest airports in the world! Instead of arriving around 4pm, they made it here around 7pm. We all settled into the hotel and then ran off to the local Culver’s Butterburgers and Custard for dinner.

Today, we had the unexpected surprise of finding that Andre Kole and his team were only a couple hours away for us. We were up early and made the drive to Danville, IL where we had the opportunity to spend the day with all of them. I always enjoy the time I have to catch up and visit with Andre. We met at the hotel and then piled into two vehicles – all 11 of us – and drove over to Montana Mike’s Steak House for lunch. I shared a booth with Andre and his son, Tim, who has joined Andre on the road this year sharing the stage. Tim had his fiance, Tina, and illusion manager, Mike, were with him. It was very relaxing and casual – and a great way to spend the day.

We made the drive back to Peoria and arrived before 6pm, which allowed us to make it to a meeting we had tonight at the Performing Arts Center where we will be performing on Friday. This venue has a few things that the Tech Director thought we should “see” before we load in. As we approached the Center, we saw several copies of this sign posted on the front doors:

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Seeing the stage and lighting ahead of time definitely helped us rethink some things before we load in tomorrow. Cindy and Nolan have their things all figured out; Keith and I think we’re ready too. It should be a fun show!

CHALLENGES

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Yesterday had moments of calm and moments of stress. Nolan and I were up early to travel across country. We left Virginia around 8am and it was already in the 60′s and the sun was out. Within a few miles, as we drove toward the mountains, sunshine gave way to fog – heavy, dense fog. As we climbed and descended each grade, the fog just seemed to get worse causing us to rethink our route to the interstate. We ended up driving further north and circling back around to Interstate 64 in order to avoid some of the more “treacherous” areas that were affected by the fog. Once we crossed into West Virginia, most of the fog had lifted, turning into rain. It wasn’t a down pour, just a steady spring-like rain. Continuing the journey westward, we found ourselves entering Ohio…and the rain had turned into the pounding, torrential kind. Nolan checked the radar on his phone to keep track of where bad conditions might be ahead of us and we managed to miss most of them. As we left Ohio and drove into Indiana, we realized we had missed the cold front by only 30 minutes or so. But what the front left behind was a winter wonderland of gleaming ice-coated trees and a drastic difference in temperatures! The closer we got to Indianapolis, the rain turned to sleet, ice, and finally to snow. These conditions, ultimately, forced us off the interstate in order to stay safe.

As I drove today, I could have focused my attention on the side mirrors of my truck, constantly looking at what was behind us – what we had just survived. But, in doing that, I would have left us open to an accident by not paying attention to what was ahead.

Life is a lot like that. We face these obstacles, challenges, things that “slow down” our journey and make us rethink our plan. In the end, you can’t make any progress by looking in the rearview mirror because where you are going is much greater than what you are leaving behind. Sometimes it’s the simple things that remind us that challenges are a part of life and, if we’re looking behind us, then we’re not looking forward. Today, we’re off to Peoria!

IT’S ABOUT THAT TIME

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

It is almost time for us to leave again. Cindy and I are busy preparing and packing for this, the final trip of the truck. Nolan and I will leave on Tuesday morning to drive to Peoria for our show there on Friday. Keith and Cindy will be flying in on Wednesday and renting a car to meet us. Once the show is over, they will fly back home while Nolan and I drive the truck to Kansas City…where we will fly home for a week. Since the truck is not coming home until the end of the tour (around May 17), we have to pack everything this time for the remainder of the time on the road.

The long hauls are difficult times because we are also changing seasons (Winter to Spring) and moving between climates (the Northeast to the West Coast) this trip. You have to pack so many clothes for so many different weather situations. Ever tried to pack for a 7 week journey?

This should be a great tour – lots of excitement already about upcoming performance with many of them sold out or almost sold out. As always, I’ll be updating the blog with details…so check back often.