Hello all! The tour made it's way to Boston in this installment of my blog, and what a pleasure it was to be in Beantown! It's been more than 10 years since I've been (which is pretty sad considering it's only 3 hours from my house), but what an exciting time to be there! The Red Sox were just starting their playoff run, the fall weather was just gorgeous, and there were so many things to see! So, without further ado, here's what the two weeks had in store for us.
We made our way from DC to Boston on Monday, and shortly after we flew in my parents, brother Rick and "Aunt" Pat arrived in town (I say "aunt' because she's actually my mother's cousin). They ended up having to stay quite a ways away because of the ridiculous hotel prices in downtown Boston. So, they drove in to meet me, and we got dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. As I was walking them back to their car, I met up with Robby, Tyler and Bradley, and decided to head to a bar called Sweetwater so I could watch the Sox game. Unfortunately, they lost they night. We did however take part in a little open mic that was going on there, so that was pretty fun.
Tyler and I had a radio interview Tuesday morning, and then we met up with the other boys for another press appearance. Following that, my family and I hopped on the T (the mass-transit train system in Boston) and headed to Faneuil Hall. The whole area is quite historic, and we were able to see the old state house, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North and South Markets, the Hard Rock (for my un-ending collection of pins) and most importantly, lunch. We stopped into a place my dad had been previously, Durgin Park, because he said they have the best Indian pudding he's ever had. Not only did the dessert not disappoint, but the Thanksgiving sandwich I had was pretty great too. They advertise themselves as being "established before you were born"; they've been there since our founding fathers ate there, and serve traditional New England cuisine. It was definitely a great place to get food. After wandering around for a while taking pictures, we headed back "home" so that I could get to the theatre to do soundcheck and get ready. The opening night crowd in Boston was great, and it was amazing to have my family there. Especially since my brother and Pat haven't seen me perform in years. Unfortunately, they had to leave shortly after the show, and left moderately early the next morning. After they left, I headed to the Intermission Tavern close to the Colonial to meet up with the rest of the cast. It's owned by Mike, the props man at the theatre, and suffice to say, I was there pretty much every night after the show. They have great food, and the Sox were always on. You can't beat that. AND, I got to meet one of my Broadway idols, Mark Kudisch! He was also in town doing a show, and happened to stop by Intermission. What an awesome, down to earth guy.
Wednesday was almost a tin type of Tuesday, if you replace my family's company with that of Robby, Frace, Kelly and Brad. They wanted to go on an adventure, so I decided to take them back to where I had gone with my parents. We even ate at Durgin Park again. But, we also walked down to the water to see where the aquarium was, and Bradley got to see the ocean for the first time! We opted to walk back to the hotel so we could see a bit more of the city on the way. The show went amazingly well again that night, and we were thrown an opening night party at a nearby steakhouse called Flemings. We talked to quite a few audience members who raved about the show, and even did some photo ops for the press.
After a lot of sightseeing the previous days, I decided to lay low a bit on Thursday. I did however introduce Brad to the wonders of Vietnamese pho at Pho Pasteur, close to the theatre. Man, was it good. We both good their chicken soup, and Brad had a little fried pheasant. Another great show that night, and Thursday was done and gone.
Friday was the day I had been waiting for; I took Frace and Tyler to Fenway Park. It had been so long since I had been there, we've won 2 World Series titles (after an 86 year drought) and they have installed seats on the top of the Green Monster. But, though I had been there before, I had never taken an in depth tour like we did this time. We also got to stand on the top of the Monster and watch my Sox take the field for some drills and batting practice. Later, Tyler caught a ball and gave it to me, knowing how much the Sox mean to me; what a solid dude. Before our tour, we went nearby to grab some grub at Tasty Burger (so named, I believe, for a Samuel L. Jackson line in Pulp Fiction: "MMM MMM MMM!!! Now that is a TASTY BURGER!"). Following our tour, I went to the Red Sox team store and spent entirely too much money. However, I DID purchase a Dustin Pedroia blue road jersey...something I had wanted for quite some time. And what better place/time to buy it?? The show was great yet again that night, and I was anxiously awaiting the start of the ALCS that weekend.
Saturday came and went very quickly, but I was able to meet up with my dentist Dr. Trigianni and his wife, who made the trip all the way from Maine to see me! He had never seen me perform, and my family has been going to his practice for more than 40 years. That evening, my family's friends the Pierce's came to see the show (also all the way from Maine), and I was able to visit with them for quite a bit afterwards. It's always so nice to have family visit and see the show. I made my way to Intermission that night, but unfortunately watched my Sox lose. Sunday was a whirlwind of two shows, and in between, Tyler, Robby and I got Chinese at this interesting dim sum place that was a converted theatre. That night....SOX WIN!! SOX WIN!!!
Because of the continued government shutdown, my plans for the day off were put on hold a bit. I had hoped to go to the Bunker Hill monument and the USS Constitution. But, I still had a few things that I planned to see. So, Kelly, Brad and I ventured out to explore a bit. We walked through the expanses of Boston Common and took in the rolling hills and greenery, and found ourselves at the gravesite of numerous famous Bostonians including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and victims of the Boston Massacre. It's amazing to think that some of the graves there are more than 300 years old. After touring the gravesite, we made our way through the Boston Public Garden to Cheers. As many times as I've been to Boston, I haven't been to any of these sites. So, Cheers was a must. Now, for those who don't know, the show was based on the Bull Finch pub, which, like the show, was underground. But, none of the bars in the building (regardless of what they tell you) in any way resemble the actual set of the show. That doesn't mean it wasn't fun! Tyler and Robbie joined us there, and after a couple of pumpkin beers and a trip to the gift shop, we all made the brisk walk home. That day was Vince's birthday, so he invited everyone out that night to Jacob Firth's, a bar and restaurant that has been there for nearly 200 years. We had a bit to eat, including the cake Vince's mom made (DELICIOUS!!), and most of us headed...duh...to Intermission for a bit afterward.
Brad, Tyler and I went on a bit of an adventure on Tuesday. We headed back down to Fenway, but this time our intent was to get Brad a new guitar to travel with. We grabbed a bit of lunch at the Cask n' Flaggon, a famous bar very close to Fenway, and then headed to Guitar Center to do a little shopping. We were successful, and headed back to the hotel. After another great show that night, the Sox won again! Wednesday was a pretty low key day with another trip to Pho Pasteur, another great show, but a Sox loss.
On Thursday, Frace and I took a walk to the North End so that we could get some lunch, and stop in for some cannoli's at Mike's Pastry...they were more than worth the walk. Afterward, we saw the North Church near the Paul Revere Mall (no, not shopping, an open space in the old world meaning of the word). It was where Revere hung lanterns to announce that the British were coming. We walked around quite a bit before heading back home. The following day, the two of us headed to the Harvard campus, since neither of us had ever been. It certainly is one of the nicest college campuses I've ever seen. Frace was able to get a sweatshirt for his grandfather who is an alumnus, and after walking around quite a bit, we headed home to get ready for the evening. That evening, a good friend of mine, Carl Hsu came to see the show, and it was great to hang out and talk afterward.
Saturday was a big day. After the matinee, I had some friends of my mother at the show, and so I chatted with them for quite a while. But, the highlight of the day, our visit to Boston, and perhaps of the entire tour thus far, was meeting a big fan of mine, Carl Hanson. He had seen MDQ a few times before, is a big Johnny Cash fan, and has been reading my blog for a while. So, I decided to not only meet him after the show, but take his family backstage for a tour. I can't express how much it warmed my heart to hand Carl a signed poster from the cast and crew, the pick I use in the show, my album, and to show him what the set looks like. I don't think either of us will ever forget it. After my eventful afternoon, I joined our sound man Brian at Panang Malaysian, and sampled Malaysian cuisine, which I had never tried before. It won't be the last time. The evening show went well yet again, but the highlight of the evening was that....the SOX WON! World Series bound!! What an amazing experience it was to be in Boston when they won. YES!!!!!
Sunday, though we had two shows, was relatively low key, and after our final show and a last stop at Intermission, I headed home to pack.
The next few weeks are going to be a little hectic; it will be the first time on tour that we will be playing multiple towns/venues within a week. So, my blogs in the future will often feature a couple of towns, though I will still be doing them each week.
Well, that's about it for now! I'm writing this from Minnesota, and I will have plenty of updates for you soon! Take care, and keep reading!