I can't really describe in words how wonderful and special that night was. It seems whenever I move in my life - and I have moved many, many times! - I intend to keep closely in touch with so many of the wonderful people I know there, and then when I get to my new hometown my life carries me away with all the activities, people and events I find there. My time in Cincinnati (I lived there from August 2000 to May of 2001 and from February 2002 to February of 2004) is and always will be very special to me. I feel like it's the place where I finally started to get my shit together as an adult and put my life on the right track. And the friends I met there were really provided the support I needed to do that - I certainly don't think I'd be where I am today without them.
But as I said like many of my moves, I lost touch with many of my good friends there, and as I also said the whole party was being thrown together at the last minute. So I had no idea how many people would be able to make it or how the night would proceed exactly. I was just trusting that it would be whatever night it needed to be, and it would all be good.
In fact it surpassed my wildest expectations...almost all of my closest pals from my days living there were able to make it, some with new significant others that I had heard about but not met yet. There were a few people - new friends of my old friends - that I had not met previously but who were a welcome addition to those gathered.
Daniel was the consummate host and had wonderful snacks for everyone, followed by an amazing lasagna dinner. He had his massive living room all set up perfectly with chairs for everyone to sit and listen to the music.
It was the first time I ever played a whole set acoustic. I have done some 2-or-3-song short sets at open mics in New York, and played a 3-song set to open a Cordova show in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this past summer. It was a real treat. I don't remember the exact order, I sort of made the set list up on the fly. But here is my recollection of the songs I played:
Make the Escape
I suppose it's obvious, but it is quite a different experience to play the songs without the distortion, the amplifier, the screaming vocals and the thunderous crashing of drums. As many have said about other rock songs stripped down to acoustic, you do get to hear something different - the song and lyrics at their very essence, I guess. And it's nice to play and enjoy them that way. I love the full Victor Bravo experience, but I think the songs acoustically have a different feel that is great to enjoy as well.
Everyone was so attentive and appreciative, it really blew me away. I am really grateful to everyone who came, for their support and their expressions of appreciation. After many a night where Dan and I were banging away, seemingly just for the bartender and the sound guy, it was a real treat to have a room full of people locked in on every note and word. Special thanks to my friend Susan for helping organize it and to Daniel for being such an amazing host.
Sunday morning we left Cincinnati and drove to Harrisubrug, Pennsylvania, listening to the NFL playoff games on the radio as we rode. We stayed in a Motel 6 there, and then Monday morning completed the trip to NYC. I finally dropped our trusty rented Ford Explorer off at AVIS in midtown Manhattan Tuesday morning, and the January 2010 Victor Bravo Tour officially came to an end.
I feel like I could write about this tour for pages and pages. I'm really grateful to Dan for posting a photo and a summary after every show. I'm glad there's a good record here of what we did and all the shows we put on. I don't know what 2010 holds for us but I'm excited about the possibilities. I think we've grown to become a pretty damn good rock band that can put on one hell of a show any night, any place, any time. The shows were all great and special in their own way, but the Dayton show will probably go down as one of our best ever. It was certainly one of the most fun to play.
Thanks to everyone who helped us, came out to a show, took us out for dinner, gave us directions, recommended daytime activities, put us up for the night, bought a CD or T-shirt, gave us words of appreciation, support or encouragement. Thanks as always to all the venues that graciously asked us to play, all the sound engineers who worked our set and helped us sound great, all the door people who took the money and paid us at the end of the night, all the other bands who played with us and helped create a night of awesome rock music, and all our friends who helped us book the shows in the first place. We're grateful to everyone but should especially call out Trish and Abby in New York; Martin in Boston; JT and Louie ("Sticks") in Cleveland; Heavy Kev and Brian in Chicago; Moe in St. Louis; Brue, Xtina and Roe-K in Minneapolis; Ray, Russell, Angie and Eric in Dayton; and again Susan and Daniel in Cincinnati. We couldn't have done it without you all, and we thank you so much.
We've got some cool Atomic Shotgun shows coming up...this Sunday at 8pm at Otto's Shrunken Head in NYC. Wednesday Feb. 17 we're scheduled to play Fontana's in NYC with Plumerai from Boston and Brooklyn's Imaginary Friends. At the end of this month we're scheduled to begin recording with Atomic Shotgun as well, working with our good friend and co-producer Ian Love. We have a Victor Bravo show Feb.5 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and more news to come in the coming weeks, I'm sure. Let's all keep rockin'!