Minneapolis, 7th Street Entry
I'm cheating, I'm writing this from Chicago. This is about as short as a tour journal can get while still being... while still being a tour journal. Then again, it was a short tour. Oh but it was a good one. The last show in Minneapolis was the best , at least it was for Tim and I, Andy said it was good but he wasn't shitting his pants like Tim and I, we were wearing shit-eating grins and having a hootenanny. It was a ball! The first set - the all-ages set - stunk to high heaven, which was odd because all the other all-ages shows went so well, I even got lucky at one of 'em, and this one stunk, it was my least favorite show of the trip, worse even than Victoria (though there were other reasons to like Victoria). The all-ages set in Minneapolis was the worst show, and the drunk-idiot set in Minneapolis was the best show. Who'd have thought?

So the trip ended on a great note. Duluth, a lovely "destination" town in heavily cultured upstate Minnesota, was also a gas - they've got this gorgeous turn-of-the-century movie theater which looks a little bombed out but it's lovely, they don't have earthquakes there so it's still intact, and they use it for rock shows now. Very nice people run the place and put on rock shows. Steve had to force the promoter to take money, literally trick him into taking money for putting on the show. It was unusual and charming. We showed up about ten minutes before we had to play, and though the show for us was a little odd - we were ill-prepared to rock, and the stage sounded like the deck of a barge - people seemed to enjoy it. There were some rabid road-tripping fans from many hours away, and they were at least as happy to see us as we were to see them. It was a nice night, a quiet night, an uneventful and not-too-late night.

I did spend all night waking up from nightmares. That hasn't happened to me in recent memory. I asked the lady at the desk in the morning if anything horrible had happened in room 102, if there were any shady histories behind that strange little room that invaded my sleep, but she said there were none. Bob said it might have been the Eggs Benedict a few minutes before bed, but I never believe that sort of thing. It was a ghost or a premonition or a severe life problem but it was not the late-night breakfast.

Oh, yeah: last place I left this was at the Royal Albert Hotel in Winnipeg, just before the show. The Royal Albert is a "residence hotel," a place where - generally - people who are nearly homeless can live cheaply and without paying a deposit. The rooms were lit by a single bare bulb hanging from the exposed plumbing - what Todd called "hang yourself" lighting. That's fairly accurate. Our show was fine - fairly uneventful, the place was packed with nutty drunks and we played well, there were a few true fans and it was nice to see them. Shellac played well but could not deal with the constant prattle from the meat market in the back row. And speaking of meat market, I met a girl named Jamie. I liked her and wanted her desperately but we went to this party after the show which turned into a quiet, wine-fueled conversation about Canadian history. The conversation was nice and informative and the company was terrific but oh how I wanted her. She was impatient with the conversation and left me.

Someday I may learn to avoid such regrets but for now I can only weep.

Have I missed much? I feel I'm being so much less than thorough. Did I mention the Rockies? I must have mentioned the Rockies. Did I mention the food? We went to the drive-through of an A&W which didn't serve root beer floats - hadn't for years. When Andy asked for ice in his coke, they told him flatly "we don't serve ice." That is absurd! Food is absurd in Canada. There is good sushi in Vancouver but beyond that I don't know what to say - the food was goofy.

Okay, this is enough. A short tour. The tour was inspired, we're gradually working our way into making the recording equally inspired. I am eager to be home but this has been so much more of a vacation than I expected that I can't be too homesick. I am looking forward to eating food and seeing friends and oh how I love a steady schedule. No matter how much you're enjoying yourself, the rock&roll life is a hard life. I know I cannot convince of that but I tell you it is true.

Michael Dahlquist
Chicago, Illinois
September 1999

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