The Concert Tour: Day One
Oct. 16th, 1991
Day one. I've always felt the best way to start off a long drive was with a long drive. We're meeting at Danny's Southern Maryland farm, a 60-mile scenic cruise from my home in Northern Virginia. Danny's place is lovely. In addition to the somewhat disheveled farmhouse, the grounds bedecked with a variety of the antique cars Danny loves, there is a brand new, two story, heated garage. Danny's love of working on classic American-made cars is reflected in this structure, which is so new, large and nice, it provides a telling contrast to his much more modest home. The bus looms large, adding an almost surreal blemish to the bucolic landscape. After meeting our Nashville-based driver, Eddie, we board and begin the long journey. But not before running around town, grabbing lunch, hitting the drug store (Danny buys two of everything for a total of $35) and then the bank to get cash, and, and, and
Logging miles in the bus is certainly a step up in every respect. It's comfortable. You make better time - you can go for longer stretches without stopping. You can sit up or stretch out, chat, eat drink, sleep. Everyone has their own bunk which provides some bona fide privacy. Or, semi-privacy anyway. One can pull the bunk's drape all the way closed and read courtesy of the built-in reading lamp. And despite the cramped look, there's a fair amount of room to stretch. Thinking: "Man, I could get used to this."
The atmosphere in the front lounge area is upbeat, everyone is excited. Eddie is a new face, and an interesting character. A truck driver turned full-time, now part-time bus driver, Eddie spent a number of years driving Brenda Lee. There's an engraved Brenda Lee mirror hanging in the main compartment. Eddie looks the part: about five and a half feet tall, his stocky build comfortably rounded by his sixty-some-odd years. White hair, western clothing and a garrulous Tennessee drawl round out the picture. Eddie looks kind of like a Southern Larry 'Bud' Melman.
The drive is uneventful, despite an anxious moment when Billy, who has been itching to drive the bus, actually switches with Eddie while the bus is in motion, hurtling down the highway! Apparently, this is a standard maneuver on the 'bus circuit,' but Billy's never done it before. It works fine though, and Billy is a happy guy. During the drive we spend time listening to Danny's collection of bootleg cassettes. He has some great rare stuff, music and oddball comedy tapes.
Regardless of the bus' comfort, everyone is wiped out when we arrive at our first destination, Nashville Tennessee, at 4:30AM EDT. We're not playing in Nashville, but this is the first logical stopping place. Our first gig is still 2 days away. Billy returns with room keys; we stumble to our non-mobile motel beds.
Next: "Share the Wonder," of Day Two
Day One || Day Two || Day Three, pt. 1 || Day Three, pt. 2
Day Four || Day Five || Day Six || Day Seven
Day Eight || Day Nine || Days 10-11
Epilogue || Feedback