It’s a beautiful, sunny morning in Kentucky. We’re up and out early to drive to Fort Wayne for another headline show but our first priority is to find coffee. This week is probably the most intense of the tour. Late nights, early mornings, radio promo and gigs all start to blur. The days off that at first, littered the itinerary, have now all vanished without trace like the snow now that Spring has arrived. Today, i am handing diary duty over to a man you all know and love. A rhythm ninja who uses drumsticks like nunchucks. The Thunder from Down Under, the one and only Mr Damon Wilson. Take it away Damon…
Friday the 13th.
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
We’re not a superstitious band but there’s more than a few raised eyebrows when we arrive at the Egyptian Room in Indy. The room Is decorated like Tutankhamen’s palace.
Not weird at all.
We’re met by Howard our trusted radio plugger. It’s his job along with Jill & Karen & Angelo to get us played on the radio & they do a great job at doing just that. With him is Brett the Man Mountain who is our marketing guy visiting from LA. He really could star in Game of Thrones except that his broad grin gives him away as an exceptionally sweet dude.
Burgers are swiftly ordered & demolished & it’s onto the show.
The Pharaoh’s Palace.
And like any king’s chamber it’s huge. 1700 eager Indianians – is that even a word? – are waiting for us & boy are they a rowdy bunch of Friday good timers! The show flies past and by the handshakes and hugs and hearty back slaps we get afterwards I’d say we’ll be welcomed back in Indiana. To all of you who came to say hi at the merch desk thanks for an overwhelming welcome. Hope to see some of you next Tuesday for our St Patricks Day show @ Union 50 in East St Indy.
Next stop Louisville KY. Our very first foray into the South. Rumour had it that his Royal Purpleness was to play at the venue next door to ours. Sure enough we arrive in the Ville to scenes of minor pandemonium. Prince fans are lining the main street and mixing with the Blackberry Smoke / TTM fans so that security are working hard to explain it all and keep things calm.
‘Queue here for Prince for the 8 o’clock show. Blackberry Smoke queue here. The Prince midnight show you’ll have to come back later. Meet and greet…’ And so on.
It’s a fantastic feeling to be amongst people who are like us – passionate to the core about music. There’s a weight of anticipation that you can feel physically. It’s a joyful feeling of expectation though. Nobody’s frustrated or on edge here.
St Patricks day festivities have begun early here which only adds to the human electricity.
And as we take to the stage the electricity only multiplies. We’re in the South and they’re keen to let us know it. The Mercury Ballroom seems to be plastered from floor to ceiling with wild eyed Kentuckians and we don’t mind in the slightest. Somehow it’s a very intimate big room as the balcony hangs over us and there’s a feeling that we’re connecting with all 900 of these music lovers.
Before the show Paul suggests we take a chance and break into Purple Rain at the back end of Pride. Hey it’s not every day you get Prince as your neighbour right? It turns out to be a master stroke and the place erupts. Hands in the air. Beautiful stuff. God I wish we’d written that song!
As we eventually pack up and walk out into the warm Louisville night we can hear Prince burning through his second show. It’s like he’s trying to tell us something:
‘Hey guys if you wanna do this you gotta do it all the way.’
We borrowed his song so it’s only fair that we take his advice too.