We woke up at 7:30 am. Craig made each of us one mug of coffee with the small in-room coffee maker, we all showered, and we were out of the room by 8:45. The hotel stay included a continental breakfast, but we wanted something more substantial. Last night we had noticed Sevala's Cafe right next door, and we had decided at that time to check it out for a more hearty breakfast. This was the South afterall and fruits just wouldn't do it for us this morning. It was a little diner type of place where you order at the counter and pick up your own food when it's ready. Based off many of the decorations adorning the walls it appeared the family that ran the business were Bosnian. I was slightly disappointed that they didn't serve biscuits and gravy, but hopefully I'd be able to get them somewhere during this trip. I got two pancakes with sausage. Craig had a sausage and cheese omelette, hash browns, and toast. Kevin's toast wasn't exactly toasted, it was just plain Wonder Bread. It was pretty funny since ours was nicely toasted. The hash browns were small slices of potato and tasted really delicate. We had the multiple mugs of coffee which we were all looking forward to and found that two of the creamers that we opened were bone dry. They were fully sealed but contained not even a trace of the strange milk-like liquid usually found inside. It reminded me of the time I got an empty fortune cookie. There's just something disconcerting about that. Once again we managed to find an awful lot of humor just in our breakfast. After we finished our breakfast, we headed back to the room, grabbed our bags, and checked out. We went into the little convenience store to buy some water for the ride, and hit the road at 10 am. After an easy exit from the city, we took route 40, which had a 70 mph speed limit, all the way to Memphis with just over 3 hours predicted travel time. Since we weren't really in a rush, we heeded Rich's advice and stuck to the speed limit (more or less). We did see several cops along the way, who, at times, were very well hidden. At one point during the ride, while just outside the Memphis area, we drove through a particularly dark, windy, and rainy patch and we were half expecting a tornado to blow through. But it sooned passed and the weather was nice again.
We arrived in Memphis at 1 o'clock and went straight to our hotel, the Spring Hill Suites Marriott Downtown. Our "favorite" dive of a hotel, the Best Western Benchmark, had been full up with family reunions. So we chose to go a bit more upscale, and Kevin, Craig, and I would be sharing the room with Tom and Karen, who would be arriving later after seeing Tom Waits in Asheville, NC. Anyway, it was too early to check in, but they let us park the car, and leave our small bags at the office.
Our old friend Frank used to be really close friends with a woman named Polly who lived in Memphis. When Frank passed away last year, and we became aquainted with Polly ourselves, she told us to look her up and give her a call if we were ever in the Memphis area. We decided to give it a try and see if maybe we could take her out to lunch or something like that. We called her and although she immediately remembered who we were she said she wouldn't be able to make it out for lunch today. She thought it was really sweet that we called and wanted to take her out, and apologized for not being able to meet with us. She asked how long we would be in town and we let her know that it would really just be a few hours this afternoon. It was nice to talk with her again even if we couldn't get together. We knew that Frank would have been very happy to know that we had tried.
Heading away from the hotel, we stopped in Court Square Park, across Main Street from the hotel. The Main Street Trolley passed by. I took a photo of the fountain in the center of the park. Since we were going to find a place for lunch we decided to call Tom and Karen to see whether we should wait for them for lunch. It turned out that they were still half an hour outside of Nashville, so they wouldn't be showing up for at least three and a half more hours. It was a good thing we called, as it seems Tom didn't have any of the hotel information, or contact information for us. They would have arrived in Memphis having no idea where they were going. While we were on the phone, a guy came over to Kevin and asked for fifty cents because he needed to call his girlfriend. Kevin said he had no cash, and the guy then asked to use our phone. We weren't about to hand our phone to a stranger and said no. The guy said "It's only a local call!". Probably not the wisest thing to do, but we decided to have a little fun, and although being honest, figured we'd just keep explaining to him why it wasn't going to happen. We explained that our cell phone was from Massachusetts and it would not be as simple as that. There would be some sort of roaming fees, and we don't have a good plan since we never ever use the thing. It's only for emergencies and therefore has very high usage rates but minimal monthly fees. etc. He argued with us, and then launched into a story about how if we needed to make a local call, we could go to the liquor store down the street and the proprietor would let us use the phone. We said that we didn't need to make a local call. He said "Well I do." Ummm hello? We said "Then why don't you go over there to use their phone?" He quickly backpedalled and said, "Just let me use your phone. You're just gonna let me use your phone. I just need to call my mother." I thought it was your girlfriend you wanted to call? Dude, that's sick, dating your own mother. We said that we weren't going to let him use the phone and walked away. Damn, the panhandlers sure are persistent down here! We had never dealt with panhandlers in Memphis on our previous visits and we wondered if this is something we should expect more of as our country slowly becomes poor.
We decided to get lunch at Charles Vergos' Rendezvous, a place in a little back alley behind Union Ave which has been serving excellent dry rub Memphis ribs since 1948. We had gone there with Kevin and Jenn on our trip to Memphis in 2001 and had been dreaming about the food ever since. We sat at the same table we had sat at last time. The waiter was pretty slow coming over, and we already knew what we wanted by the time he finally arrived. Craig wanted a full order of ribs and I wanted a small order. Craig asked what they had for local beer. The waiter said "Coors." Huh? We weren't in Colorado, were we? Not expecting this answer, Craig assumed this meant that was all they had for beer and said, "You only have Coors?" The waiter said, "That's not what you asked. You asked what we had for local beer." We were confused. He then rattled off their selection of beer, which mostly consisted of the basic Bud and Miller varieties which Craig would have no part of. The final entry on their list was Sam Adams and Craig sighed with relief. A beer with a little flavor at least and he ordered a Sam Adams. As the waiter turned to me I asked, "Could I have a lemonade?" The terse answer was "No." It threw me off. He then said they had sweetened ice tea, so I ordered that. I wanted something Southern, and I was surprised they didn't have any lemonade, but sweet tea would do just fine. So far this wasn't the experience we recalled from our last visit here.
While chatting before the food arrived I thought I heard the table next to us order a "sausage plate." A few minutes later, our waiter brought us a plate of seasoned kielbasa, cheese, crackers (in little plastic wrappers), and pepperoncini. It seemed odd and we didn't see any other tables with it, so we suspected that we might have gotten our neighbors' appetizer by mistake. I leaned over to the next table and said, "Excuse me, did you order an appetizer?" It was an older woman with apparently her son and his girlfriend. The older woman looked at me very strangely, as if to say, "Why are you talking to me?" They said that they hadn't, so we assumed that this must be some sort of complimentary appetizer. We hadn't remembered it from our previous trip, but that was five years ago and they could have started doing it since then. The wrapped crackers really made us suspect it was something new as it didn't seem to be something a decent restaurant would do as part of an actual purchased appetizer. We dug in and it was delicious. Our waiter came back several minutes later with another plate and delivered it to our neighbors. He then stopped by our table and said, "That was my mistake. It was supposed to go to them." We told him that we had asked them if it was theirs. The woman at the next table looked at us somewhat embarrassed, and said she hadn't heard her son order it. Wasn't he sitting right there when I asked? Did he also forget he ordered it? Oh well, we had tried to do the right thing, but we got a free appetizer out of the deal. I'm sure our waiter wasn't very pleased about it. Our meals were then served, a slab of ribs covered in a mound of spices. It was served with a mustard-based tangy cole slaw and bbq baked beans. The waiter soon returned with a bowl of Wonder Bread rolls. We remembered this from last time we were here as the Wonder Bread plant was nearby on Union Street. Kevin asked if he could have some butter to go with them and our waiter said "No." We thought he was kidding. Kevin said "Really?" and the waiter made a slicing motion at his neck and said, "Ain't gonna happen." Okayyyyy... What kind of restaurant doesn't have butter? Especially in the South, where butter and sugar are the staples of every diet? At first we thought he was just being funny and trying to make cranky seem amusing but eventually we felt that wasn't the case at all. We were quite puzzled at the lack of Southern hospitality exhibited by our waiter. He seemed rather annoyed that we were even there. But the food was just as good as we had remembered. We couldn't resist as we had wished we had done so last time, so we bought colorful Rendezvous T shirts. We were a little afraid to ask our waiter for them but fortunately this was nearing tip time and his persona seemed to change dramatically. We paid our bill, and then left. As we were walking out the waiter was really friendly to us. This sure wasn't the Rendezvous experience we recalled from last time but fortunately the food was really good, despite no butter for the rolls.
We walked back to the hotel and checked in to a very nice room with two double beds and a fold-out couch. The couch wasn't one of those old-fashioned ones where there is a metal bar right across your back when you sleep, so it seemed like it would be comfortable enough for Kevin to sleep well. There was a decent sized bathroom and a nicely sized sink area adjacent. The furniture was all very nice and the room was quite clean. Near the door was a small sink area with a small refrigerator and a coffee maker. Behind that was a nice wood desk with all the computer hookups one might need if here on business rather than simply enjoying the town and taking in a concert. There was a nice balcony overlooking the Court Square Park, and we went out to have a look.
Next door was the "historic Kress building" which was a part of the hotel only accessable by a walkway on the 3rd floor. It was originally a five-and-dime store built in 1927. It had a very colorful art deco exterior and bald eagle head gargoyles around the roof. Thinking ahead, we realized that we didn't have enough towels for all five people, and that there also weren't enough coffee supplies for the following morning. Craig called the front desk and they told him to come down and get any additional supplies he might need. We thought that was a bit odd in a nice hotel like this but realized it was likely due to the fact that we could take any coffee suplies we needed rather than the standard issue coffee-supply packets that housekeeping usually provides. Kevin called the desk five minutes later to ask about extra blankets for his sofa bed and was told they would bring them to the room. What were we doing wrong? Craig and I went down to the desk and got an additional towel. While looking at a rack of brochures we saw a small one which said "Say no to panhandling." We took a couple and laughed that we should hand them out the next time we were accosted (which was inevitable). We read the inside and it said that panhandling after dark is illegal in Memphis, and aggressive panhandling is illegal at any time. We went to the coffee bar and grabbed various coffee supplies which included more of the little creamer containers which were always far superior to the powdered packets in the room. Taking what we needed, we went back up to the room and knocked on the door. Kevin answered it and we handed him a panhandling pamphlet. It was good for a laugh out of Kevin.
We decided to go out on the town and walked down Main St. Although I had washed my hands rather thoroughly, I still had the smell of dry rub spices under my fingernails. We passed a poster-sized "Say no to panhandling" sign and staged a photo in front of it. Was it in poor taste? Sure. But we were already so frazzled with the peristent panhandlers of this trip that we couldn't help ourselves. Besides, sometimes poor taste can still be funny. Rather than taking out our frustration on the panhandlers themselves, we channeled it into "art". Craig held out his hand with several coins in it and I sternly looked at him and scolded him in front of the sign. Just say no indeed.
We stopped in at the Center for Southern Folklore Music Shrine. The Center is a non-profit organization which promotes Southern culture. Inside there was a small stage area for performances, a small cafe counter, and lots of funky merchandise. There were folk art style paintings and sculptures of various blues musicians, old black and white photos, folk dolls, CD's and books. I took a photo of a small folk art shrine to Stax records being watched over by an image of Isaac Hayes. It was delightfully tacky. We bought a blues book and a perfect Christmas present for one of our good friends. Some of the patrons were talking to the proprietor about the Tom Waits concert that night. She said that a bunch of fans had been in there, and that Tom seems to have a particularly rabid following. Standing there wearing our brand new Raindogs shirts (Thanks again, Django!), we just smiled.
We continued walking down Main St. and arrived at the Orpheum Theatre at around 4:30. The will-call tickets had become available at 4:00. There had been a small line when we first got there, but after a few minutes it was gone. We went to the door and the Orpheum's incredibly friendly staff let us in. They checked our ID and credit card and we were given a wristband and our tickets in row B! We were so excited. The staff kept commenting about what good tickets we had. Kevin needed to see a seating chart to determine which of his tickets he wanted to keep for himself. He had two tickets and wanted to ensure he had the aisle seat. We waited for him outside and walked over to the Elvis statue on Beale St. to take a photo. There were two panhandlers camped out there who offered to take our picture with the statue. Just as I wasn't about to give up my phone earlier, I certainly wasn't going to hand over my camera. We took a picture of the statue and then headed back to the Orpheum. As we walked away one of the guys started muttering at us. A cute little vehicle called the Memphis Tipster (Tourist Information Police) drove by. We could see the Elvis statue across the street, and watched in fascination as a larger group of tourists handed over their cameras to the resident panhandlers. We were waiting to see how long it took the panhandlers to bolt with the camera, but they actually did take a picture for a tip. Ah ok, fair enough. They didn't steal their camera but did at least want to earn something for their efforts.
It was hot standing in the sun, and the ladies who knew we had already picked up our tickets let us back inside to wait for Kevin. It was nice and air conditioned in there. We saw Stuart, Tom's tour manager and patron saint of Raindogs. We introduced ourselves to him for the first time, and chatted for a few minutes. We headed back outside and met Lance, one of the Raindogs. He said that there were already a bunch of people at the pre-show gathering at Alfred's on Beale St., so we decided to head down there. We passed Sarah and her friends on Beale St. They said that they were heading over to the Orpheum to pick up their tickets, but they would return to Alfred's before the show. We entered Alfred's and saw a ton of folks from the Raindogs list. We first ran into Phil and Cathie from Vancouver, and we chatted with them for a while. Matt and Helen from the UK saw me from across the room, and I went over to say hello. They said that they had missed me in Atlanta and that Craig had been lost without me. We were very thirsty and went to the bar. Craig asked about local brews and the bartender said the closest thing they have to a local brewery is a Coors bottling plant. Aha, so that's what the Rendezvous waiter meant! Craig opted for the Turbo Dog beer, on the bartender's recommendation, and I had a Smirnoff Ice. We were so thirsty that we swilled them and I soon went back for another round. We saw Shane and met his twin brother Shawn, both from Utah. We could easily tell them apart in person, but looking at photos after the fact, it is more difficult to decide who is who (sorry if we mis-labeled you, guys!) It doesn't help that they always dressed alike! We met Dawn and Ben who live in NYC (Ben is originally from the UK). Dawn said that we looked familiar and she and Craig listed off various Tom Waits shows that we had each been to, but none were in common. Then she remembered. "It's your web site! You're the ones who travel all over the f@#$ing world!" Our reputation precedes us. It was too funny. We also chatted with Lilly and Josh from Brooklyn, Tim and Sharon from Iowa, Karren from Tampa, Mark from Dublin, Jim and Tsyganka from Memphis, Ida from Missouri and her daughter Rebecca and son-in-law Shannon, another Rebecca, Sarah from back home in Boston... it was great to see all of the wonderful people whom we had met at previous shows, and also to get to make new Raindog friends as well. Everybody was buzzing with excitement. For some people, this was their first Tom Waits show ever. For others, like me, it was their first of this tour. Others had already seen shows on this tour. No matter what our situations were, I think we were all equally excited. We all had a fantastic time. The Raindogs are a great group of people. Kevin stayed with us for most of the time but went back to the hotel a little early to rest his back. We were hoping Tom and Karen would show up as well but that didn't happen.
We stayed until around 7, and then walked back to the hotel to get ready for the show. On the corner across from the Orpheum, a couple of girls were hanging posters of the show on lightposts. They had a stack of them and we asked if there was any way we could have one. They said that they weren't allowed to give them out, and that they needed to take a picture of it on the post, but once they were done, they had no control over what happened to the poster. Point taken. They let us know when they were done and walked away, and we took down the poster. A couple of guys saw us with it and asked where we got it. We told them, and they took a picture of us holding it up with their camera phone. "I suppose we'll see that on Ebay tomorrow," they said. "Not a chance," we replied. When we had arrived at the hotel room, we saw that Tom and Karen had been there. They left us a note saying that they went to dinner with Ken(adian). We met up wth Kevin at the room and then walked back down to the Orpheum. We ran into Karen on the way. She was running back to the car to pick something up. When we got to the front of the theater we also ran into Tom. We were very glad to see that they had made it and were ready to go for showtime.
We entered the venue and made a quick stop at the restrooms. Outside of the rest rooms marvelling at how long the refreshment lines were, we made friends with Emily, Andy, Mike, and Jason. Everyone was pretty excited about the show and we went to our seats. They were on the right hand side of the center section, in the second row of fixed seats. There were two rows of folding chairs set up in front of the fixed seats, so we were essentially in the fourth row. We were seated next to Tim and Sharon from Iowa. Shane, Shawn, and Sarah were also in our row. We waved to Ken(adian), who was dead center. We looked up at the mezzanine and caught a glimpse of Gary. He and Vicki had gotten into town earlier today and had planned to do some sightseeing before the show so we never managed to hook up with them. We caught his eye and waved to each other. I called his cell phone to say hello and to let him know where the after-party was going to be held. It was great to see they had made it. Something has always prevented them from making it to aTom Waits show but we were glad to see they made it this time around.
At around 8:30, the show started. The band (Duke Robillard on guitar, Bent Clausen on percussion and keyboards, Larry Taylor on upright bass, and Tom's son Casey Waits on drums) took the stage, and then Tom's wiry silhouette could be seen behind the curtain as he struck a scarecrow pose and the crowd went nuts. He emerged from behind the curtain and they launched into "Singapore". Some light was projected from the front and side of the stage, making Tom's shadow larger than life on the curtain behind him. Tom played maracas for the rocking "Hoist That Rag" and then the haunting "Shore Leave". He played "I Ain't Goin' Down to the Well No More" as its own song. We had previously seen part of it in Boston in 1999 as an add-on to "Gun Street Girl". It was nice to hear it have its own arrangement. I had been listening to "Frank's Wild Years" during the past week, and it is an album which has really grown on me over time. When I was secretly thinking what tunes I would really like to hear Tom play that I had never heard him play before, "Yesterday Is Here" and "Telephone Call from Istanbul" were at the top of the list. At this point in the set, I almost thought my ears were playing tricks on me as I could have sworn I heard the opening notes to "Yesterday Is Here." Sure enough, that was what he played. It was such a nice treat.
Tom combined Howlin Wolf's "Who's Been Talkin'" with his own "'Til the Money Runs Out" to make an interesting bluesy medley. The two songs worked very nicely together. Bent did an awesome vibraphone solo. When they played "2:19", Tom picked up one of the megaphones which were piled up behind him on the minimalist stage setup and sang all of the vocals through it. When he got to one of my favorite lines in the song, ("Are you drying your nails or waving goodbye?"), he repeated the line several times as he waved his hand. He did a rather comedic version of "Dead and Lovely." Then Duke, Casey, and Bent left the stage. A grand piano was rolled out from the right hand side of the stage while Tom made arm motions as if he was conjuring its appearance. The piano was set up right in front of us, which afforded us a rare good angle of Tom's playing. As he played "Tango Til They're Sore", the spotlights were reflecting on the piano keys, making a swirly pattern on the curtain behind Tom. Larry played upright bass to accompany Tom's piano. The real surprise and delight of the four song piano set was "The Ocean Doesn't Want Me Today," which I had never seen live, and Craig hadn't seen since 1996 in Oakland (his first Tom Waits show). After "Invitation to the Blues", the band came back onstage and Tom waved the piano away in a very comical fashion.
With the full band back on stage, they did a very bluesy "Whistlin' Past the Graveyard", followed by a medley of "Heartattack and Vine" coupled with a little bit of "Spoonful". The version of "Shake It" differed so much from the album version and 2004 tour that I didn't even recognize it at first. At first I thought that it was "Red Shoes" and then I couldn't even place the lyrics. Next was "It Rains on Me", which was originally recorded as a duet with Chuck E. Weiss. It translated very well to a solo Tom show, and lent itself well to an audience sing-along. Next he did "Lie To Me, Baby," which I had never heard before, though Craig saw him do it several days before in Atlanta. He was quite impressed this time as apparently he had no clue what any of the lyrics were from the performance in Atlanta.
One of the highlights of the show had to be "Circus". We had never seen it performed live, and it was very theatrical. As one of Tom's strange spoken-word pieces dealing with carnival and side show imagery, Bent's weird percussion instruments added to the mood nicely. The stage was lit with a bright red light, and Tom's performance was mesmerizing. To paraphrase the song,"We were soaking wet and wild eyed." So was Tom. It was obvious how warm it was up on stage by the amount he was sweating. When he neared the end of the piece, he did a little improvisation where he took the line "Leave the bum!" and kept repeating it in a sing-song voice. It was great. After that little aside, he came back to the rest of the lyrics. "Trampled Rose" was much different than it had been in Berlin. Bent was playing a cigar-box guitar which was very twangy. It had a very "American roots music" feel to it. "Murder in the Red Barn" was also a very bluesy arrangement. Having Duke on guitar definitely added to the bluesy atmosphere of the show, which seemed just perfect in Memphis, of all places. He ended the main set with "Going Out West". When he left the stage, a roadie brought out an acoustic guitar and placed it on stage. When Tom came back out to thunderous applause, he didn't see the guitar at first and was looking around while miming playing a guitar. Someone pointed him at it and he kind of smiled. He went and picked it up and launched into "Day After Tomorrow", solo. The stage was bathed in blue light and it was very somber and powerful. Two years after the song was released, the U.S. is still at war and and people are dying around the world. It was nice to see that the audience was much more respectful during this quiet song than they had been at the Commodore in Vancouver. The band joined Tom back on the stage for the final song, "Sins of the Father". The compete set list follows:
Make It Rain
Hoist That Rag (Tom on maracas)
Shore Leave (Tom on maracas)
I Ain't Goin' Down to the Well No More (Tom on electric guitar)
Yesterday Is Here (Tom on electric guitar)
God's Away on Business
Who's Been Talkin'/'Til The Money Runs Out
2:19 (Tom on megaphone)
Dead and Lovely
Tom on piano with Larry Taylor on bass:
Tango 'Til They're Sore
House Where Nobody Lives
The Ocean Doesn't Want Me Today
Invitation to the Blues
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Heartattack and Vine/Spoonful (Tom on electric guitar)
Shake It (Tom on electric guitar)
It Rains on Me (Tom on guitar)
Lie to Me, Baby
Get Behind the Mule (Tom on electric guitar)
Murder in the Red Barn (Tom on electric guitar)
Going Out West
Day After Tomorrow (Tom solo on acoustic guitar)
Sins of the Father (Tom on electric guitar)
The show lasted about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Craig pointed out that the show was a good 25 minutes longer than the Atlanta show just a few nights earlier. After the show we hung around outside the Orpheum and chatted with various friends and aquaintances about how great the show was, how eclectic the set list was, etc. We were really blown away by the show. We waited for a while hoping to finally connect with our friends Gary and Vicki from Rhode Island. We still hadn't had a chance to say hello but they never appeared. After enough time had lapsed where it was clear they must have already left and gone elsewhere, we headed down to Pat O'Brien's on Beale St. where some of the Raindogs had thoughtfully reserved a private function room. When we approached the club, we saw Dawn and Ben on the second floor balcony and took a photo. Dawn shouted down asking, "Are you trying to take a picture up my skirt?" She's such a hoot (and no, the picture confirms we did not). We walked past the courtyard which had a very cool flaming fountain, and up the stairs to our private rooms. It was a very nice setup, with its own bar, pool table, tables and chairs, and private balconies overlooking Beale St. The bar line was a little long and they didn't really have an additional waitress at first, so we needed to wait quite a while for drinks. I got their "signature hard lemonade" and Craig had Sam Adams again. It seemed to him that Memphis is in dire need of a local brewery other than Coors.
We got to meet Jarlath, one of the Dogs from Dover, UK, whose hilarious posts on the Raindogs list always keep us highly entertained. Shane and Shawn were there, and Shane held up his "Raindogs" license plate for a photo. We chatted with Dawn and Ben, Phil and Cathie, Matt and Helen, and Sarah. We sat with Tom, Karen, Craig M., and Kevin and chatted about our experiences so far on this trip. Tom had his own panhandler story from Asheville, NC, where a guy had a big scar on his face and a missing tooth and said he had been mugged and got into a fight and needed money. I told them about the car radiator guy in Nashville and Craig M. immediately said he knew of that scam from elsewhere too. I guess it's everywhere other than Boston. We joked again that we should bring it back to Boston and try it out. Shane came by and gave me a Red's Recovery Room coaster, as immortalized in "Filipino Box Spring Hog." Very cool - thanks Shane! We informed him that we are weirdo collectors that way and that it would not be tossed aside carelessly. Rather, it would be a much loved addition to our odd collection of things we pick up in our travels. There were Mardi Gras beads decorating the table and we put them on to try to look festive. Helen orchestrated a rather successful group picture, so we all posed. Ida's daughter Rebecca was gracious enough to take a photo with my camera. She then took a picture of her husband Shannon "because he's so cute." Rebecca said that s he just couldn't resist once she had a camera in her hands and that we could delete it if we wanted. But how could we? He's just so cute! Kevin, Tom, and Karen left for the night and we stayed and chatted quite a bit with Ida and Rebecca. We talked some more with Matt and Helen, and then Shane introduced us to Laurie. We had a nice lengthy chat with the two of them and Ken(adian) for a while. Shane also gave us a flyer from the L.A. performance of Black Rider. We also talked with El Rayo X and Jarlath. It was all very surreal in many ways, there were just so many people that we have come to know in the past 12 years being on the Raindogs list. El Rayo pointed us to Jerry the Jersey Devil, whom we had never met. At this point it was 2:00 and the club was trying to shut down. We went over to the pool table and said hello to Jerry and Shane. We left at around 2:20 and headed back to the hotel. We were a bit hungry at this point and could have used something to eat but we had no complaints as it had been a great night and we were on a tremendous high. An excellent Tom show and a really fantastic party with old and new friends. The Raindogs have become like an extended family and tonight the reunion was very successful indeed. Everyone else in our room was in asleep when we arrived, so we tried to be quiet as we got ready for bed. Nobody knew we snuck in.