The Concert Tour: Day Eight


Oct. 23rd, 1991

Rather than drive all night, we elected to stay put and get some real sleep. We therefore have opted to spend most of the day driving to Austin. It's a lot to travel eight hours and play, but it's manageable. Eddie recommends the smaller, more interesting road, Route 281. Crossing vast expanses of Texas flats, steers and mesquite providing the majority scenery, ranches with names like Tomahawk and Forbes. Low clouds, Big Sky, this is a great way to see Texas.

On the way, at his request, I use the CD player/cassette boom box to record for Danny a copy of "Cut Me Loose," a CD by my former band The Assassins. The band's singer Tommy Lepson is one of Danny's favorites. Tommy (nickname: "Deaf Boy") is also a master of the Hammond B3 organ, and plays it on a number of Danny's records.

The gig is another Headhunters opener, at a venue called the Austin Opera House. Here is our expectation, as quoted in "Day Three; cont'd":

…we're booked to play what appears to be a concert, at a place called the "Austin Opera House." Thoughts of 19th century-style opera houses fill our heads…
The key word in that sentence is appears. In fact, the "Austin Opera House" turns out to be a cavernous airplane-hanger-looking quonset hut, a large dance and beer hall. Varying levels of disappointment ripple through the band. But hey, a gig is a gig, and we're still booked two nights in Austin Texas, a town considered by many to be Country Music's REAL Music City, as opposed to Nashville's corporate plasticity.

The Headhunters show up, the sound checks occur (theirs for an hour, ours for 15 minutes), and we have some time to eat and hang out. We're invited aboard the Headhunters' bus, which turns out to be a genuine Elvis Presley "TCB" bus ( "Taking Care of Business": see 'Day Two'), complete with the still-emblazoned TCB logo. The Headhunters are understandably proud of this vehicular heritage. (At this moment however, they are unaware of the fact that one of their buses is about to break down, causing them to have to lay over an extra day! In fairness to the King, it's not the TCB bus.)

The gig goes fine, though some of the band members express sentiments to the effect that this was not one of the better shows of the tour. We are successful however. There's a packed house and we draw excellent crowd response. This crowd (versus last night's bunch in McAllen) knows very well who Danny is. As Richard Young predicted, many, many guitar players are there for their first glimpse of the legendary Danny Gatton.

The show come and gone, the crowd dispersed, we head across town to check into our hotel. We're staying smack downtown in Austin, and here get a glimpse of the kind of 19th century grandeur we hoped for in the Opera House. The authentic and beautifully restored Hotel Driskill is one of Austin's landmarks, circa 1886. Despite the presence of an allegedly haunted room (where a murder had taken place years ago, and of which—by the way—you will find no mention on their website), it's a pleasure to be somewhere with real stature (though in the context of the day and setting, the McAllen La Quinta was its own shelter from the storm).

It's a shame, but this evening is our only at the Driskill. Austin City Limits is putting us up at a different hotel tomorrow.

Next: Day 9—Austin City Limits.

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.