03.23.06 – San Diego, CA

First show of the tour. Whenever we take a few months off I get a strange feeling taking the stage again. I look out at the crowd and wonder who are you people? what in god’s name are you all doing here!? do you have a fucking *staring* problem!?

It’s a genuine feeling that usually goes away after a song or two, but last night I didn’t get over it until like 2/3 of the way through the set. I think there are members of our band who woke up this morning still mumbling who the hell ARE you!? over and over again. In any event, the only place we’ve ever played in San Diego until last night was a beach bar named “Cane’s” in Mission Beach. I have awful memories of that place… the drum machine getting unplugged halfway through “All the Way Up to Heaven”… having to stop the song in the middle of it and apologize… I remember throwing something.

And I remember our old sound guy Gordon getting in the face of a parking lot cop who made us move our bus a mile from the venue. Gordon was getting more and more belligerent (saying “ooh big man, big man, are ya!?” in a heavy Canadian accent) and from the window of the bus we noticed he was topless, wearing only flip-flops and bleached cut-off denim shorts that barely made it past his tighty whities. It was a COPS episode waiting to happen and we all felt it…. fortunately the cameras never showed up and now there’s a nice House of Blues in downtown San Diego where we played our first proper San Diego show last night.

And apparently, in San Diego, it’s only a ten minute drive to the Mexico border where Tijuana awaits with open arms. Ryan became obsessed with this thought and was hell-bent on going to Mexico for dinner after soundcheck. Adam was sold too. Joe had other things to do and I was nervous that they would get stuck at the border and wouldn’t be back in time for the show. I often feel like Kyle’s little asthmatic cousin in this band. You know, this guy:

They left at about 5:30 and needed to be back by 9:30 for the show. They got good advice from locals: Park the car in the USA and walk across the border, bring passports, be wary of traffic coming back to town, etc…

At 6:15 they walked back into the dressing room, a little disheveled, while the rest of us were gorging ourselves with House of Blues brisket. “How was Mexico” we all wanted to know.

Apparently they’d been walking around looking for the rental van for almost an hour, and weren’t able to find it, so they gave up and came back to eat brisket. And that’s our Tijuana story. No tequila binges, muggings, hookers fighting roosters in small cages, etc… just not finding the rental car and giving up.

We’re not so rock ‘n roll. Actually, Joe’s kind of rock ‘n roll. He bought a hat in San Diego and was publicly praised by Seth, our tour manager, for stepping up the style on this tour. Joe was hyper-aware of the fact that I was digging for my digital camera to expose the situation in the road journal, and removed his hat before I could get a shot of it. Joe’s still bitter about the Beret Incident of 2003, where I put up a poll on the website for you all to vote on whether or not he was pulling off his new beret.

(above, top: Seth approves of Joe’s style)
(above, bottom: The Beret Incident of 2003)

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