Saturday, 04 November 2006

We didn’t actually get out of the hotel room until almost 10am, so Todd and I decided to just skip breakfast and pick up portable food at the gas station when we filled up the car. Detroit to Chicago is 300 some-odd miles, which meant it was going to be a long day.

Before we left, we booked a hotel for Chicago via Orbitz. The place that had originally been suggested was either full or $169 per night depending upon which travel site you checked. Instead we ended up with $89 per room for the night at the Holiday Inn Select near O’Hare airport, but about 14 miles from the venue for the show. I figured it would work better because when it came time to head for the airport, we wouldn’t have to drive through town to get there. I’d rather make that drive after the show at 2am instead of during the day, even on a Saturday.

The drive into Chicago was uneventful, although we did see some snow along the way.

Actually, I shouldn’t say it was completely uneventful: Along I-80, cars get a faster speed limit than larger vehicles, so we were cruising along pretty good. After a quick rest stop we were back on the road and I could see a coach bus in the distance.

I thought to myself “Wouldn’t that be funny if it were Roger’s bus?” but kept it to myself. We were still at least ¼ mile back and, really, what are the odds?

As it turns out, we saw the horses on the side as we got close. Just as I was about to say “I don’t suppose that’s Roger’s bus, is it?” Todd started digging around in his CDs. He opened the window, got a death grip on his copy of Americano and held it out the window as we pulled in front. In the rear-view mirror I could see the driver pointing to us, apparently talking to someone else on the bus.

We hit traffic on our way in, but it wasn’t horrible. About like rush-hour through Downtown Minneapolis, except this was 3 in the afternoon near Southwest Chicago. It was mostly due to construction along I-90.

Once we got checked in and settled at the hotel, we headed over to the club. Todd and I figured that it would be good to locate the venue and find some dinner in the area before the show so we aren’t rushed. As it turns out, Joe’s Bar isn’t really around anything, food-wise, so we ended up eating at the club.

Inside, the club looks to be about the size of First Avenue, between 750 and 800 person capacity. We found Tippy and Diane again, right up front, and joined them. The first opener was already on, an acoustic guitar duo whose name I can’t remember. They were OK, but not really worth remembering or buying their CD.

By the time As Fast As took the stage, the place was packed. Everyone was pressed up against each other and good luck getting back to your spot if you wanted to hit the bar. The more crowded the show, the more fun it tends to be, and this was no exception. And now I’m sure that Spencer and the boys are doing the same set each night. That’s OK though, since that makes it easier to sing along; and I didn’t care who heard me. They kicked ass.

Roger’s show was great too. I’m loving every minute, and getting recognized – even when it’s just a nod – is really pretty cool.

I didn’t manage to get a set list this time, but the woman who did was nice enough to let me snap a picture of it: Americano; Wanted; Blue Collar Suicide; Honky Tonk Union; Banditos; Little Hung Over You; City Girls; Mexico; Broken Record; Down; Tell Yer Momma; Love, Come Lighten My Load; Switchblade; Girly; Yahoos and Triangles; European Swallow †; Jack vs. Jose; I Don’t Need Another Trill; Green and Dumb; Beautiful Disaster; Bury My Heart at the Trailer Park; Counterclockwise; with the encore being Leaky Little Boat; Mekong; and Nada. That’s according to the written list, so there might be a couple things out of order or an addition.

We didn’t hang around very long after the show, which may have been by design on the club’s part. They started playing techno/house music right after Roger was done and it cleared the place out pretty fast. Todd and I wandered around behind the venue and saw that the crew was loading the bus with such purpose, it was unlikely that Roger was going to come out. With the lack of other bars or restaurants around Joe’s, we took it as a sign to go back to the hotel and get some sleep.

(* These were originally recorded as Refreshments tracks.)

Note: I started this post Saturday when I was back home. It took me a while to get it finished and on-line after that.

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