We’ve played near Columbus, Ohio several times but never in Columbus itself. Tonight it would be Byrne’s pub. Something told me it was going to be an Irish pub and by golly I was right! We’ve played hundreds of Irish pubs over the years and by and large they’ve been a good time as a fun crowd generally shows up. Maybe it’s the Guinness or the Oscar Wilde quotes on the wall, probably both, but sometimes it’s better to play a packed Irish pub then a huge rock and roll club or a theatre when playing a new town where unlike at Cheers, nobody knows your name.
People started filing in as showtime was coming round. It turns out a lot of people had heard of or seen the band before in Montana and nearby Dublin Ohio and various Irish festivals that we’ve played in the Midwest. It’s a real family affair with several brothers owning the place and proprietor Pat’s son doing a nice job behind the soundboard. One of the ladies behind the bar had recently traveled to Vancouver and hiked the Grouse Grind after reading about nature’s Stairmaster in the Lonely Planet travel guide. 80% per cent of the band felt her pain as she tearfully recalled burning lungs, stiff legs and a general feeling of hopelessness.
We played two solid sets and called it a day. Afterwards it could have very easily turned into a long night of merriment and socializing but we had one of those after the show drives to do to get to the hotel in Cincinnati.
The next evening we headed ten or fifteen miles down the road and across the river to the Southgate house in Newport, Kentucky. We had a really fun weekend show there a while back, but being a weekday our expectations were realistic. The venue is a historic mansion from the mid-nineteenth century. According to the plaque on the front lawn the inventor of the Tommy gun was born there in 1860. It’s an amazing building. Tonight we were playing upstairs about a half block and a hundred stairs from where we were able to park the van in the alley. Unfortunately due to a strained back I’ve been hobbling around slower than Tim Conway’s old man character on The Carol Burnett show, and unable to lift anything. The guys have been really helpful packing in an extra armload from the trailer and helping with packing and unpacking my gear. It certainly has made the tour feel a lot longer than three weeks. More like ten years actually. I guess we tend to take our mobility and general good health for granted until something happens to remind us of how fragile we are.*
Laurel opened the show with her husband on banjo. They played some nice tunes and are hoping to play out a little more in the future. We fired it up and seemed to connect with the audience. There was an Ow Sorry t-shirt, camera’s clicking and people singing along so that made these Canadian kids feel good about themselves.
Oh, and on a further positive note. At dinner Tyler bit into a name tag that had been baked into the pizza so they gave it to him for free! And the name tag too! He’s still wearing it. He almost looks like a Charlotte…