|On the road again!||12/3/2013
|November began with a local club date with my good friend—and talented vocalist--Abe LaMarca. Our “Rise and Shine” has been receiving consistent radio airplay on 107.3 The Wave and this was another opportunity to perform our single live! We are so thrilled with the reception we are getting in concert and with the support from everyone at the station.
Now back to my other career, with Jim, and a series of “Love Tour” concerts that kicked off the following week! Our first show, with Luke Mc Master, took us to beautiful Ivins, Utah. As you will see, I tucked “Rise and Shine” into my bag, just in case.
Tuacahn Amphitheatre is an outdoor theatre nestled in Utah’s stunning red cliffs. But no one had warned me that the venue was not inside (I know, I should have been tipped off by the word “amphitheatre”…): I had not envisaged the possibility of an outdoor concert in November! And believe me, it was freeeeezing!! There I was, in my short-sleeved crocheted dress singing to an audience bundled up in down parkas and double-wrapped in down comforters! They were fantastic though and their warmth made up for the low temps! In an exciting “crossover” moment, I shared “Rise and Shine” with them live. I did miss having Abe there to share the vocals with me but it was very well received as a solo too. Thank you, Ivins, for being my first out-of-state public for the single!
The next day we traveled to Reno, Nevada for a show at Pioneer Center. We hadn’t been to Reno in a few years and it was great to be back. Radio personality and Program Director, Doug Daniels of KNEV Magic 95.5, met with us before the show, and We enjoyed re-connecting. Abe and I had recorded a jingle for Doug, using “Rise and Shine”, for his morning show, as requested. It is the perfect wake-up song, don’t you think?
Just before the show, Abe’s brother-in-law, Jake, in town on business, came backstage to say hello. Once again, it was fun to see a familiar face on the road. And once again the audience was terrific!
The next day I was home in Cleveland. The following week, I was back in the studio, recording background vocals for Abe’s new song “Inspiration”. Abe is recording a new CD, and this song is a winner: I love it and I loved being a part of it!
Three days later, I was on the road again with Jim. First stop, Greensboro, NC, at the War Memorial Auditorium. The last time we were there was with Richie McDonald of Lonestar, three years ago. It was fun being back and the audience was great!
We were traveling by tour bus for these dates, the same one we use for the Christmas Tour. We got acquainted with our new driver, Mark, who is a gentleman and handles the wheel beautifully: I feel very safe!
After the Greensboro show, we packed up and were on our way to Savannah, GA. It was a beautiful 75 degrees outside and much better adapted to my little crocheted number! Jim and I stretched our legs with a walk around town before heading to the theatre. After sound check, we spent a little time with another Program Director and radio friend, Mark Robertson, of Savannah’s WYKZ The River. He is such a joy to be around and I thank him for playing “Rise and Shine” as well as “Someone Is Missing At Christmas”. We also visited with another radio friend, Ira, his beautiful wife and friends, just before the show. Jim and I have known Ira for years and it’s always good to see him.
After the concert, I also re-connected with old friend and advertising pro, Natalie Bayless, and her husband Rob. I recorded many, many jingles for her in Cleveland in my youth. She moved to Savannah some years ago and loves her new home. It was fun spending a little time with her after the show. I only wish that we’d had more to spare!
Because we were soon on board our bus and headed for Newberry, SC, for two back-to-back-shows the following day. This was our fifth performance at The Newberry Opera House, where we are always warmly welcomed. The ladies backstage spoil us with homemade soups and meals, remember? Southern hospitality at its best! And the Opera House is so intimate and lovely. Although these two-show days are exhausting, our energy kicks in when we hit the stage. Both audiences were terrific!
After the show, we headed for Charlotte, NC for a day off before our next show. My brother lives in Charlotte and we had a dinner date! He picked me up after work and we dined at the excellent Carpe Diem. It was fun spending one-on-one time with him! We said good-bye knowing we would see each other the following evening at the concert along with his lovely wife and boys (their daughter, away at college, would not be joining us this time).
I don’t know if my family’s presence had anything to do with it, but the audience at Charlotte’s Blumenthal Center Knight Theatre was off the charts! Their energy was incredible and, together, we had a blast!
From there, it was on to Richmond, KY and the EKU Center for the Arts. It was a beautiful day, the theatre staff was lovely…and so was the audience!
Our next concert was in Bloomington, IL, at the Center for the Arts. Another perfect crowd for our final night on “The Love Tour”!
We launched “The Magic of Christmas Tour, in Appleton, WI, the very next day. This was Tracy Silverman’s first date with us and he always makes our “holiday family” complete. Old friend and radioman, Chuck Lakefield, was on hand to introduce us that evening. It’s always wonderful catching up with warm, always-supportive Chuck, and his lovely wife. Appleton was a success!
After the show, I was also able to see my friend Ann Liebeskind and her darling sons, as well as the family of our lighting designer/production manager, Sean. We were on the bus by 11:00 and on our way to St. Louis, where we would be catching a flight to Tulsa, OK…or so we thought. When we awoke the next morning we were given the option of flying or staying on the bus for six more hours. Luke, Tracy and I opted to stay on the bus! I slept for two more hours, made some phone calls and relaxed before pulling into a very chilly and windy Tulsa at around 3:00 pm. Our concert was at Tulsa Performing Arts Center, where we have performed many times before. The crowd was warm and welcoming: we are so fortunate to encounter wonderfully receptive audiences every night, wherever we go!
Our final destination before heading home for Thanksgiving was Des Moines, Iowa. The venue, Hoyt Sherman Place, is an old mansion that has been converted into a magnificent concert hall seating around 1200. Tracy’s daughter and her two friends visiting from their college two hours away enjoyed the show and I enjoyed visiting with them. This was a matinee, and immediately after the meet and greet, Luke, Tour Manager Sean and I had to get to the airport to catch our planes home.
I arrived in Cleveland at around midnight and it was good to be home! The next few days were spent preparing for Thanksgiving, recording in the studio with Abe, and generally catching up. On Thanksgiving morning my dishwasher broke and I was hosting 12 for dinner! I was in charge of the turkey and three vegetable side dishes while my sister, Wendy, prepared mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, chestnut and mushroom stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin, pecan and apple crumb pies.
Besides my family, Ed and I welcomed our niece, her husband, their one-year-old son, Liam, and their darling friend visiting from Korea, whom we just loved! Also on hand were my other niece and nephew. We were all able to sit around the dining room table for once. Last year we were 23 and there were three tables! It was fun, yummy and wonderful being together. I have so much to be thankful for and this was a lovely way to celebrate!
The following morning I drove five hours to Carmel, IN, a suburb of Indianapolis. We performed at The Palladium—what a fabulous venue! The house was almost full and we had an amazing audience. Linda Caldwell, who is always so supportive and so lovely, greeted us after the show. She has driven to Cleveland to see my own shows as well as Jim’s concerts. I always love to see her!
The final day of November would take us to Joliet, IL. Since this city is not too far from Chicago, I was able to see my cousins, Jim and Vernette, who drove in to see the show. I hadn’t seen them since my dear Aunt Jane’s funeral back in August. As usual, I wished that we had more time to visit.
Many longtime fans were also on hand. It’s always great seeing all of these lovely people. Ernie Knight handed me a rose after my first song of the night and his wife Vicki handed a rose to Jim, Luke and Tracy at the end of the first act. They always seem to get the front row! Jim’s parents were there too and I always love seeing them!
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the fans and friends who spoil us on tour—and especially at Christmas—with thoughtful cards, gifts and goodies. Please know that we dearly appreciate your generosity and affection! But most of all, we just love seeing you and look forward to the next time.
If I don’t see you before then, a very Merry Christmas to all!