On Wednesday morning, October 21, 2009, I left home for another short tour with Stevie Wonder. I flew to Boston and then rode on a bus for 2 hours to The Foxwoods Casino Resort in Connecticut. There was no time for a band rehearsal, and sound check was cursory at best. But, Stevie has learned to trust that we will all be ready when the time comes. For the first show, Stevie changed more than half of the set list, keeping all of us on our toes as we traversed his massive song catalogue. Back in 2007 when I first was hired, the prospect of performing without a guaranteed set list was daunting (read: terrifying!), but I’ve grown to not only appreciate, but to relish the spontaneity of Stevie Wonder’s concerts. I have no idea how my brain manages to recall the disparate keyboard parts, keys, lyrics, and background parts my job requires, but I’m certainly grateful that it happens!First show of this run:
On the bus to Syracuse
After the show, we drove to Syracuse, NY, to the Turning Stone Casino Resort. The bus ride was supposed to be about 4 hours, but ended up being closer to 6 hours, thanks to rainy roads, and a fickle headlight on the bus. I settled into my row on the bus, and tried to sleep. Given that so many people on the bus wanted to talk (loudly!), I wasn’t able to sleep. I recently purchased some high quality custom earplugs, and literally forgot to use them (Oops!) until the last hour of our ride. During a rest stop break, I remembered that I had the earplugs, and I placed them in my ear: what a difference! I slept during the last 60 minutes, and was able to take a nap in my room for a few hours during the morning before departing to prepare for the evening’s concert.
Despite exhaustion, we had a good show that night and flew to Virginia the next morning for a much needed day off. We arrived in Virginia to a surprise of 80° heat! It was beautiful weather, and much appreciated by sun lovers, such as myself! After a nice walk with Fausto and Munyungo, I spent the bulk of my off day reviewing the music for the show (so not really a day off), ate lunch with several members of the group at Joe's Crab Shack, and later went to dinner with a few of the band guys in the hotel restaurant. While sitting at the restaurant table, it became clear that the cold was back: the wind was blowing fiercely and rain was pelting the ground with ferocity. The storm only lasted about 20 minutes, but shifted the weather sufficiently the next day to necessitate a change in wardrobe back to cold weather appropriate gear.
The concert was held in a venue on the Old Dominion University campus. My cousin’s son is a student at OD and attended the concert. I hadn’t seen AJ in years, and it was very good to see him, although I didn’t get to spend much time catching up. Every night, after a concert, I’m literally starving and have to eat dinner. By the time the concert was over, I changed out of my concert attire, and had my dinner, it was quite late. It’s my habit to eat late dinner at home, so my body is accustomed to it, and even more ravenous thanks to the tremendous energy I expend during the concert.Next stop: Manhattan! Over the past 3 years, I’ve performed in Manhattan several times, but not once have I had the time to visit my old Harlem stomping grounds. This trip was no different. I arrived in town, and immediately went searching for food and clothing bargains with Monica, our fabulous new stylist, and my friend Amy, who happened to be vacationing in NYC that week. I was determined to find an old Asian restaurant that I’d frequented 10 years ago. I didn’t have an address, the name of the restaurant, or the name of the street. I just re
Later that night, I wanted to go Salsa dancing with a group of friends, but I had to take a nap (so much travel is exhausting), and by the time I woke up, it was too late to organize everyone, so I ended up having a late dinner with Amy and Elaine at The Fatty Crab (yummy), and talked with them for a few hours before going to bed. I was disappointed that I couldn't meet with all of my wonderful NYC friends, but C'est La Vie! I'll have to visit again on vacation so I have plenty of energy and free time!