Saturday, November 9, 2013

We're not in Kansas anymore....or Texas, for that matter

Brad's first time on as Carl in Odessa, TX

We welcome Cody back for some rehearsals in Wichita!

Two Elvis' are always better than one

James' creative wordplay on my dressing room door

Sometimes you just want to sit in a Jacuzzi and play guitar

An abandoned train station in Wichita

Century II Performing Arts Center in Wichita

The Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, Odessa, TX

A park between our hotel and the theatre in El Paso

The gorgeous and historic Plaza Theatre in El Paso, TX

The whirlwind tour continues!!  Hello, everyone!  I hope you are all well, and that wherever you are, you are enjoying the fall weather, and had a great Halloween.  The Million Dollar Quartet National Tour continues to roll around the country, and this week we played three cities in one short week.  They all happened to be cities I haven't visited (well, I've been in El Paso for a short time, but I've never played there), and though we didn't have much time, I tried to see as much as I could. 
We took the flight from Minneapolis into Wichita on Monday morning.  It was a pretty lengthy day, but when we got in, we were pleased to find we were in a very cool little downtown area of Wichita.  Closeby was a brewing company, River City, that had one of the best steak sandwiches I've ever had.  It had beer cheese on it.  MMMM. BEER.  CHEESE.  After dinner I laid pretty low that night, as it was going to be a pretty busy day on Tuesday. 
I got to walk around the area a bit, which was good because most of the other days we were in town it was pretty rainy.  The Old Town area of Wichita has a lot of awesome old ads painted on brick buildings, and I love to take pictures of that type of thing.  That whole area is comprised of old warehouses and factories that have been converted into retail space and hotels.  Pretty awesome.  I even got to see the abandoned train station and still functioning commercial train tracks nearby.  After getting a bite to eat, we headed to the theatre about 2 miles away, and we were blown away by the response from the audience.  After the show that evening, Cody arrived in Wichita to do a couple of days of rehearsal before rejoining the tour.  Not to worry, folks; Tyler will be back with us in a couple of months.  On that note, I got to meet Tyler's kids, as well as Brad's little girl.  When you are away from home and the one's you love, it's always comforting when family visits.  Even if they aren't your family. 
On Wednesday morning, me and the boys had some press at a local TV station, and then we headed straight to the theatre to do a rehearsal and welcome Cody back.  He may not have done the show since May, and things may have changed a bit, but it clearly was though he had never left.  We felt pretty good about the run, and headed home to chill for a bit before heading back for another amazing show that evening.  As we left the theatre, my Red Sox were beating the Cardinals in game 6 of the World Series, and after watching for a bit at River City....WE WON!!!!!!!!!  World Series Champions!!  James and I and the rest of the boys celebrated a bit before heading to bed in anticipation of another big day on Thurdsay.  Along with it being Halloween. 
The day started off with a full costumed rehearsal for Cody and the rest of us, and then a photo shoot for all of our future press releases, etc.  I even did a phone interview in the midst of it all.  In the short break we had, Tyler and I went out for dinner, and then headed back to the theatre for our final show in Wichita.  That night, a few of us did our best to dress up for the holiday with little time to plan, and headed to a bar nearby, Mort's.  It was a lot of fun, and there were some pretty amazing costumes there. 
Friday was a travel day to Odessa, and though we were prepared for the sparse surroundings at the theatre and at the hotel, I think it was still a bit of a shock.  Not a whole lot around except for oil derricks and open land.  However, across from the hotel, there was a great little place called the Cork & Pig.  A very busy restaurant; I got probably the best salad/the best piece of steak I've ever had.  It was advertised as a steak salad, but really it was a great salad with two full tomatoes, bacon dressing, fresh gouda, and a small steak on the side.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  Afterwards, a few of us sat around a fire pit at the hotel talking for a bit.  It was one of the first rough load ins for our crew, as they had taken a sleeper bus from Wichita to Odessa and immediately loaded in when they got there.  They finished in close to record time though, and were able to enjoy a bit of the evening with us before they had to be at work in the morning. 
Saturday was a pretty full day, in that we opened on a matinee, which we have yet to do.  A beautiful new performing arts center awaited us; and though the afternoon crowd was quite small, they were very enthusiastic.  In between shows we were treated to a fantastic catered meal, and then James, Tyler and I went out in search of a few things to give to Brad for his first show that evening as Carl.  There were a couple of technical problems, but Brad really rose the occasion and KILLED it.  He has made such an amazing improvement since those first days in New York, and he should be very proud of his first performance.  That night, James hosted a party in his room celebrating Brad's first time on, and our survival of the first two weeks of our crazy schedule. 
The next morning we boarded the bus and took the 3 hour trip to El Paso.  It would mark the first time we would travel and perform in the same day.  There was very little around our hotel and the theatre, and being a Sunday, what was there wasn't open.  The majority of the cast and I found one of the few places open; a little bar/restaurant called the Tap.  We dined on authentic Tex-Mex, and then  headed to the theatre for our one show in El Paso, and what would be Tyler's last show for quite a while.  And let me tell you, it may have only been one show, but the theatre and the audience made our few hours in El Paso TOTALLY worth it.  The next morning we boarded a flight to California, and that brings us up to date.  I am writing you from Thousand Oaks, CA, one of our few week sit downs in this year of tour.  So, please stay tuned next week for news from our time here in the Golden State!  Thank you for tuning in, and I hope you enjoyed this latest installment!

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