Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dateline: Red Bank, NJ

You know, before we made this trip my biggest worry about bringing my baby on the road was that she would pick up some in of bug and get sick. She’s so new to the world outside the womb, and her immune system is still getting up to speed. The plane ride worried me the most. After all, my amazing parents are out here with us, and consequenlty we don’t have to take our little one out into crowds much. She’s either in the baby bus or the hotel, all pretty controlled environments. But the airports and the planes, well those are filled with people, people who carry germs and viruses and all manner of icky icky make baby sicky things. So when we were in the airport environments we took some precautions. Check it out:

There's a baby under there

I was about to write something stupid like “So far, so good,” but then I realized only an idiot who wanted their baby to catch something on the road would write that. So I won’t write that, and I didn’t write it, and I hope that fate will take note that I did no tempting whatsoever.

What I will say is that while I was so concerned about my daughter getting sick, it never once occurred to me that I could pick up some icky buggy. So, of course, yesterday morning I woke up with a sore throat and an aching body.

It makes sense. I haven’t had an uninterrupted nights sleep in six and a half weeks. I’ve been trying to eat right, but um, well, you know how that goes. I haven’t been exercising, though I plan on starting any day now! And I went from the lovely Austin “winter” with it’s 70 degree days, to the actual winter of the East Coast. My body finally said, “Enough!”

And of course, I got sick on the first day of the tour, aka the longest day with the longest rehearsal. Usually we won’t need to be at the venue for soundcheck until 4pm. But since yesterday was our first show, we had to get there at 12:30pm. No lollygagging around the hotel room for mommy. I actually had planned on spending the day in a hotel room hang with my husband and my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understood the need to tweak the show, but I was sad about the prospect of spending 12 hours away from my baby. We could have brought her to the venue, but it was pretty far from the hotel, and we didn’t know if we would have time to get her back to the grandparents before the show.

We started out soundcheck at about 2:30pm and went until 5pm. Here are a couple of pictures:

I was so out of it, that these were all I took. Jobelle Smith, Ruby Jane’s mom, took a ton of pics. You can check out the photos and Ruby Jane’s blog here!

Not to self, next time I’m at a super long soundcheck, and I feel like hammered dog poop, I will make sure to have a chair available. As addled and achy as I was yesterday, I didn’t even consider the sit down option until 4:55pm.

At the end of the soundcheck, everything hurt – my throat, my feet, my legs, my brain. I hobbled upstairs to do my post soundcheck pump (did I mention we’re breastfeeding out here? More on that later), grabbed some food at catering, and then hightailed it to the baby bus to take a nap.

It’s a glorious thing, the baby bus. It’s our own little rolling fortress of solitude. Ruby Jane wasn’t feeling so hot either, so she an I racked out for an hour before the show. No noise, no distractions, just sleep. Goooo baby bus!

The nap made all the difference. I don’t know if I would have made it through the show without it. As it was I had just enough energy to make it through the two hour show.

And what a show it was. The band kicked ass. We started with some Asleep at the Wheel tunes, which were so much fun. I’m loving the addition of the second fiddle and the horns. We’re a big band that sounds like, well, a big band.

And then Willie came out.

I tell you what, there is nothing like watching a crowd transform when Willie Nelson comes out on stage. It’s almost like watching people react to a religious figure, or Barack Obama. I mean, they were digging on the Wheel. But when they saw Willie, it was like their souls got filled up with happiness and delight. It shot them out of their seats, made them scream and holler with glee. He just has that effect on people. He makes people feel good about feeling good.

And he’s an amazing performer. As a member of the band you just watch and learn. We had a set list, a set list that he had helped come up with. But he came out, read the crowd, and started changing it up right off the bat. Of course, his choices were the right ones.

We played some of his tunes, then blazed through the Willie and the Wheel set. Like I said, his vocal styling really bring a lot to those songs. Then we returned to his hits. He’s got so many! I think the crowd must have gotten hoarse from singing along.

After the last song was played, we rocked a version of Jumping at the Woodside while Willie met with fans. A crowd had gathered at the front of the stage. People had CD’s and shirts and bandana and belts that they wanted signed. Most people just wanted to touch Willie, and tell him they loved him, or thank him for playing. He went from one side of the stage to the other, handing out a little love to everyone.

At the end of the night I was exhausted and ecstatic, and ready to see our baby! We hurried back to the hotel and picked her up from the grandparents. The we all snuggled in bed and went to sleep, a happy, tired, slightly sicky but feeling better family on the road.

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