Saturday, 21st May 2011 in US Tour 2011.
A long drive to Chicago where we get more deeply into The Paris Wife. Beginning to be a little like what we in England call “an Aga saga’ – a sort of chatty, gossipy novelette, but we persist with it. Neil’s gig is at Martyrs – he usually plays at The Abbey, but last year they really annoyed him by forgetting to provide a piano and in the end, getting one which was awful. He played Martyrs a few years ago with the two Kens Ken Thornton (Rutling Ken) and Ken Simpson (Vet Ken) supporting him, so thought he would give it another go. This time he had just a 75 minute set rather than the full 90 minutes, so on the way to Chicago Neil wonders what to leave out of his set list. He decides to leave out ‘Eye Candy’ and a couple of others. We arrive to find the stage full of equipment for the band on after Neil, but, Ted, the sound guy is great and moves things away creating some sort of space for Neil’s instruments. Many of our old friends come to this gig, Ken Thornton, Vet Ken, Pink Bob and his friend Chris, Jeff Elbel, Ellen and her mum, and Stephen Jones and Jodie – two lovely people who invited us to lunch last time we were here. Ellen is hyper-creative.. She made us a jeweled ‘Faberge’ egg last time and this time a fabulous glass necklace for me, so I was a happy bunny that night. The good thing about this early set is that it was over by 8.30, so that we spilled out on to the pavement to find somewhere we could all sit and talk, finding an Irish pub just a block away. It was a warm still evening. Usually by the time Neil has finished the signing it is too late to find anywhere open, so this was a bonus for us. Ray the owner of Martyrs, found one of Neil’s capos and joined us for a drink. Much later we drive through Chicago to Lansing and bed.