Hats Off.

Today’s diary entry starts live from the tour bus. Our only daytime journey of the tour from one city to another meant climbing out of bed at an ungodly hour. Actually, 10:15am is hardly ungodly but it’s earlier than our usual departure times. It’s all relative. The drive from Philadelphia to Washington is a scheduled 139 miles and if traffic isn’t too heavy we should be there by 2:30. Lunch will still be warm!

And it was. I’m afraid even though I swore I wouldn’t cave in to the familiar primal urge to stuff my face during my brief visit to catering with some of the boys, when we arrived, I seemed to forget all that. A couple of pieces of delicious, freshly cooked tandoori chicken. What possible harm could it do? A diet next week when I get home is now firmly on the cards.

We actually arrived at the huge downtown Verizon arena well ahead of time despite the burst water main down the road which was causing quite a commotion, so there was plenty of hanging around to do.

Our dressing room was well appointed and everything in this vast complex seemed to be extremely well designed and thought out, right down to the urine colour dehydration chart on the inside of each toilet cubicle. That made me ponder on the (most likely very tall) athletes that usually frequent these dressing rooms we temporarily inhabit. Another huge ice bath in the dressing room suggested injuries that would make our eyes water were commonplace in here. The recommended cold bath duration was 15 minutes…or until the affected limbs go numb! Fighting pain with pain huh? I’ll pass on that. I’m sure these guys know what they’re doing though.

There was time to kill a-plenty so John McCusker and I decided to go for a walk outside as it appeared that we were in downtown Washington DC. We wandered for a while not really knowing where we were going so I asked the valet parking chap at the Capital Grill (another one!). He said it was ten blocks to the White House so we jumped in a cab. The sun was setting and the light was good for a few shots.

Then we hailed another cab and headed back to the venue, just in time for our sound-check. As I’d predicted yesterday, the small issue with Mark’s Ragpicker guitar had been resolved and it was returned to its usual pristineness. Our show was as much fun as any other so far on the tour. Another wonderful, warm Washington welcome and incredible standing ovation at the end. We are all really looking forward to next April when we kick off on our own in Europe and can further explore this fabulous band…and play for 2 hours +.

Bruce Molsky and his lovely wife Audrey came to the show this evening. Anyone who doesn’t know the music of Bruce should check him out. He had just returned to his home town of Washington DC from a trip to the Shetland Isles. Bruce was over there playing three concerts at the ‘Shetland meets Appalachia’ event this week. John and Mike have played with Bruce many times and I met him earlier in the year at the Transatlantic sessions on London’s South-bank.

Once Mark had finished his short stint with his Bobness, we found ourselves in the dressing room faced with a mountainous pile of ribs, steaks and chicken, not to mention the chili and beans. Solid rocket booster fuel for the long bus journey ahead to New York, if you know what I mean. We said goodbye to Bruce and Audrey and headed out into the vastness of the underground loading bay where Jason and Saen were ready and waiting with the buses.

Our last bus ride took us from the venue all the way to New York City, past Philadelphia, where rather strangely, we were this morning. God, that seems like an age ago. Long day indeed. Due to the fact that New York is low on fuel and the prices are hiked, Jason and Saen sensibly decided to pull in to a truck stop just South of Philly to fill up. With the other (Folkie) bus parked up at adjacent pumps, it seemed like a good idea to hop on board and see what they were up to. No good, no doubt. We all went for a wander in to the truck stop shop. Watford Gap it wasn’t, but there were some items of interest to the boys and some good photo opportunities.