The Concert Tour: Day Seven


Oct. 22nd, 1991

McAllen Texas, an East Texas town less than ten miles from the Mexican border. McAllen is, in strict geographic terms, "way down there." The hottest I have ever been in my life was in Corpus Christi Texas, and McAllen is one hundred miles south of there. McAllen is home to nearly 90,000 people and a bustling citrus indutry. The town has a rough side. Folks we meet tell us the proximity to Mexico imposes pervasive influence, to the extent that McAllen in some respects, might as well be in Mexico. A few years ago the disappearance and subsequent murder in Mexico of two college students from McAllen garnered national attention, the unsolved case still making its way into local conversation.

We wake up in (you guessed it!) a parking lot, at a La Quinta Inn, and have the day to chill out. "Chill" is perhaps the wrong word; it is HOT. Walking around doing a lot of nothing, criss-crossing the asphalt from shop to shop eases the boredom, a little. (Very little! A bowl of pinto beans at the local health food store is the highlight of the day.)

The gig is another Kentucky Headhunters opener, at the McAllen Convention Center. The Convention Center is in actuality a huge VFW hall. The expansive main floor is stark concrete, most of which is filled with long tables and chairs, excepting the dance floor up front. Cast iron streetlamp fixtures protrude from walls lined with vintage 1970's floral prints. Pictures of the artists who have graced the stage line a couple of display cases. They vary from Metallica to Willie Nelson. Some of these have obviously held their spots for years, the odd variety befitting the general store nature of the VFW hall as concert venue.

The gig is well-attended, and by some very interesting looking people. Seeing one large Mexican-American (or perhaps Mexican) man makes it sink in just how far from home we are. His face deeply lined, wearing hat and boots, staring back with similar momentary interest, as if to say Hm. You ain't from here, that's for sure.  When we come on and play our set, we are regarded with this same detached curiosity. Danny who? 

A word about the catering: spartan. (That is the word, in my journal.) Balogna on a platter. To maximize our interest backstage, a large (3-4"?) palmetto bug (i.e. enormous cockroach) is flying around the backstage area, severely grossing-out several band members. If its strategy is to stake out that balogna by driving everyone from the room, we should credit the palmetto bug as a keen judge of man's character and stamina.

Having (ahem) left the dressing room, I spend the Headhunters show on the bus reading (must confess, the John Bonham thing is getting old), watching the World Series broadcast in Spanish from Mexico, marvelling at the liquor and cigarette commercials. How foreign they appear. Not because they are a product of Mexico, but because they are on TV.

In the wings tomorrow: another 8-hour drive, this to the capital of the great state of Texas.

Next: Day 8—Austin.

Introduction || A Hot Band || The First Gig || Tour Plans
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


© 1991, 1996 by Brian S. Alpert. All rights reserved.