Roanoke VA, Downtown Saloon
Not sure what happened on the drive down, either a ripple in the space-time contnuum or possible alien abduction, but the drive down from Johnstown took 8.5 hours. Much longer than initial projections. And I stupidly took late afternoon drive shift thru the Blue Ridge Mtns with beautiful lighting. The photographer in me was kicking himself in the ass.
Rolled into venue and our hearts sank. Another bar/grill joint. Really nice staff and sound engineer. But still. We want to be in venues, so initally was a kick in the teeth. Which sucked cause we needed said teeth for the awesome food there. Regrdless set up and started to play for about 20 people.
But a lot of familiar faces: people from Leesburg VA, and MJ and husband also made the time-bending trip down there. That was cool. But 3 songs in something amazing happened... crowd started to swell, and a packed house by end of first set. People up front rocking and everything. Turns out everyone got on thei phones, crowd and barstaff alike and told their friends: get down here RIGHT NOW.
Which was awesom, but starting with the shuffle crowdwalk to turn heads, was already a few drinks in by first 2 songs. Had to spend rest of set trying to maintain, heh. But def felt I was misfiring all 1st set.
But 2nd set was all epic rock n roll glory. Amazing crowd, best of the entire tour. We handed them their asses on a plate and they were dying for 3rds and 4ths. Dessert even. I ripped off a brand new set of strings because I felt obligated to. It was amazing. Totally cemented the fact that this band truly has something special going on, and we need to put ourselves into the position to take it to next level. Hung out getting sloshed with the locals and staff. Already talking return date. This pleasant surprise from what appeared on the surface to be a stinker. Awesome.
We were forewarned about the Ramada the venue put us up in. And they were correct. Total shithole. Lobby immaculate but one past it was ghetto terrible. People lived there. Only nice thing other than lobby was nice little creek running alongside the place. Rob slept in the van due to bugs jumping on him soon as he laid down. As a precaution I slept in a protective layer of gig clothes and avoided being under the covers if I could help it.
Welcome to life on the road.