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Friday, April 10, 2009

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: FIGO TOUR 2009 (Part Three - Home Again)


Phew! That shit ain't fuckin' easy. Why couldn't this have happened when I was young and more resilient? Every day that passed brought me more evidence of the sage prophecies of one Lemmy Kilmeitser:

"Another town another place,
Another girl, another face,
Another truck, another race,
I'm eating junk, feeling bad,
Another night, I'm going mad,
My woman's leaving, I feel sad,
But I just love the life I lead,
Another beer is what I need,
Another gig my ears bleed,
We Are The Road Crew

Another town I've left behind,
Another drink completely blind,
Another hotel I can't find,
Another backstage pass for you,
Another tube of super glue,
Another border to get through,
I'm driving like a maniac,
Driving my way to hell and back,
Another room a case to pack,
We Are The Road Crew

Another hotel we can burn,
Another screw, another turn,
Another Europe map to learn,
Another truck stop on the way,
Another game I learn to play,
Another word I learn to say,
Another bloody customs post,
Another fucking foreign coast,
Another set of scars to boast,
We Are The Road Crew"

I can now claim to 98% of that. Leave off the bits about the girl and the map of Europe. I am beat up, but I am also grateful for the chance to live the dream.

After Chicago, it all got blurry, so I'll have to catch you all up.

Following Chicago we were scheduled for two dates in Canada, the first in Toronto followed by a second the following night in Montreal.

Canadian laws prohibit foreign DJs from performing in their clubs and bars without a visa, but, as in our case, they make exception for acts playing in theaters as part of a tour package. We were waiting for such documentation to arrive before our border crossing. Chicago came and went, and we were still waiting. The night after our second performance at
The Metro, we packed up and hit the road. Lodgings on the cheap were in order, so we figured we'd stay the night in a random Super 8 in Indiana on our way to Toronto via the Detroit/Windsor border crossing.

At one with the Alice Cooper coming out of the iPod, Indiana got left behind and I finally pulled over somewhere in the middle of Michigan at 4am. Psyche! It was actually 5am, as we had crossed into Eastern Standard Time.

After a few hours sleep, we crawled back in the van, still without papers. We dallied in Michigan while we waited. If evening came without our documents, we would just have to play 'tourists' at the border. We stopped in Ann Arbor at a Whole Foods for an expensive but necessary healthy meal. Still no word. Detroit and the border were an hour away.

I have been to Detroit many times. I have spent a total of five weeks at the Marriott in the GM building, so I know the lay of the land, and I parked us downtown where I knew we could kill time if we had to, but as we ordered the first round of Heineken at the Detroiter, the paperwork came through. Now we needed access to a printer. Fortunately the Final Four was in town and the Marriott was a madhouse, so nobody noticed as we strolled in and used the business center to print our all important document. Paul took the time to 'priceline' us serious digs in Toronto for the same rate as the Super 8. Sweet.

Now all we had to do was cross the Bridge to Canada and talk to the Border Cops.

If we could find the fucker.

Detroit is a third world city. It's literally bombed out like a war zone. Our combined search for gas and the Damn Bridge to Canada (detour hell) took over an hour. We finally hit the booth at the border around 5pm, burnt out and stupid from road lag. The lady asked us what type of venue we were playing - the paperwork had all the info, but she was asking us, and we stuttered out some incomprehensible babble and it was off to the holding pen while somebody called The Phoenix in Toronto to ask them if they were a theater or a club. It took about seven minutes, but it was a long seven minutes of introspection and reflection upon past crimes. Finally, they called us up, handed back our documents and sent us on our way.

Canada is like another fucking country or some shit.


Ontario rolled out under us as we sped through the snow. Oh yeah, it was fucking snowing. Did I mention the fucking snow, in April. Ontario looks much like Indiana, with snow. We made it to Toronto around 9pm, checked into the nice digs at the Hyatt, and just made it to a nice Indian restaurant -
Aroma - before they closed. Fantastic byriani, and the always refreshing Kingfisher capped a long day.

Oh yeah, the gig. The Phoenix was a cool old ballroom style theater with a great balcony for the boys to set up in and hang the Figo banner from.

The opening act, Telepathe, left the tour after Chicago, and the lighter load allowed Figo to play their first set from the stage for the first time, and I'm happy to report that it has remained that way even after support act The Crocodiles joined in Boston.

It kept snowing.

(Figo @ Social, Toronto)

The boys played an after party in Toronto at the Social, so it was a late night followed by an early morning. Another long drive to Montreal loomed........in the snow.

Montreal is nice. Very euro, but the French they speak isn't French. Not Really. We played the
Theatre Telus, a very modern affair. Interesting show. Lots of bonding among the various camps on the tour, things are jelling, folks are hanging out, all very nice.

Another border crossing was in store for the next day. I woke the lads early for our trek to Boston. A little nervous about re-entry, we made sure to consume all of our little presents we got at the after party in Toronto. Clean in conscience, they barely looked at our passports as we crossed into New York. We made a left at Albany and made it to the House of Blues in Boston, located next to Fenway Park, just in time for game day. I hate baseball. I had to park the van clear across Kenmore Square near my brother's old Frat House on Beacon Street, and feed the meter every two hours. I had an Italian sausage, bough vinyl at Nuggets - where my life in vinyl began, watched Figo and The Crocodiles perform on the massive stage at the House of Blues, watched some Eddie Izzard in the van, then picked up the lads and we went to the after party at some sushi/dance club in Boston. We had a good time hanging out with the various members of Ladytron and the Faint who were spinning at the club, and then we hit the road at 2:30am - homeward bound.

The place where Ted's record collecting began.
(Parag and myself in front of Nuggets)

The Crowd
(The crowd @ House of Blues during Figo set)

(the Crocodiles)

I got home in time to see the Legal Diva off to work.

Just lucky I suppose.

Very cool! What did you score at Nuggets?
Hey we have snow on the ground in Asheville in April too, oops, wait, my bad, that was January. I forgot. We were BBQing last weekend because it was 70. Never mind.
I purchased ELO's 'Face the Music'.
have you recovered yet?
Not really....
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