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Decatur Blues Society at the Decatur Club Ballroom, Decatur, Illinois

 

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   Pretty Boy's Corner

July 20, 2010
  I forget to check the alarm clock in the room and it goes off with a roar at 5 am. Boo. I get back to sleep though and get up around 8:30 am and eat some breakfast and go back to the room to catch up on some correspondence and practice. It rained all morning but it cleared up around 11 am. Hope it stays this way for our short 45 minute drive to Decatur.

We get to Decatur and check our bags in at the hotel which is called the Decatur Conference Center run by Holiday Inn. It's a huge place but deserted. Walking around the complex was like walking around a ghost town. Lots of empty rooms and for some reason they put us all in the back on the second floor where the air conditioning in the hallways is turned off. I get to my room and it is hotter than a pistol so I turn on the air but little comfort is coming from it. Oh, well. I hope it gets better but for now we're off to the venue to set up and sound check.

The venue is the Decatur Club which has been around since 1887. We are playing on the second floor in one of the ballrooms. It has wooden floors with hard walls which makes it a bit of a low end rumble. I'm glad the sound man, Dirke, chooses not to run the bass or drums in the p.a. It makes it easier to control the room volume. Laurie's guitar is in the p.a. and, on hindsight, we should have had Tommy in the p.a. too. Dirke was very confident and capable which is always appreciated by a touring band. Thanks, Dirke.

Don and Julie Wright, the head of the Decatur Blues Society treat us really well. The band is fed a sit down meal by the Manager of the Decatur Club, Jeff. The band, except for me, is treated to steak with all the trimmings. I eat vegetarian. I get a wonderful pasta dish which they made two, thinking that Susan, my wife, who is also vegetarian, would be there also. She comes in two days. Yay! I take the second in a carry out for tomorrow for lunch.

We go back to the hotel to change and warm up for the 7 pm show. My room is still hot and I'm having apprehensions about whether I can stay in this room. I shower and get ready and fortunately I don't have to stay in the hot room too long. Hope it is cooler by the time we get back from the show.

We arrive at the Decatur Club and find that the room is filled quite nicely. Laurie's parents, Simon and Bobby, and Brian, a former schoolmate of Laurie's are in attendance. As we walk in Laurie gets a round of applause and this crowd seems like it is ready to rumble. We kick off our set and every tune gets a loud response but they were really won over when Laurie does her walk-around solo in 'Living in a Man's World'. I love how we do such a great job of dynamics in this band. It takes the listener on an aural up-and-down roller coaster ride. We take a break and the cd and t-shirt sales are brisk. Everyone wants to meet Laurie and I get some really nice people offering me complements. We start our second set and it seems that from one song to the next keeps climbing to a new climax. We finish with 'I Speak the Blues' then an encore of 'Crossroads', the old Robert Johnson tune done our way.

So far on this tour, this has been one of the healthiest blues societies we have encountered. It is less than two years old but it has already done so much for blues in the community and its membership is very strong and growing. Thanks and good luck, Decatur Blues Society. May we find you in such good shape next time we pass through.

We get back to the hotel after a quick stop at a mini-mart for some after gig snacks. My room is still oppressively hot so I call the desk and ask to be in another room. They send a security person over who verifies that the air is not working and they move me to a room nearby. Aw. Relief. Now for a short night's sleep. It is an early day tomorrow because of a six hour drive to Angola, Indiana.



 

 
 
 
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