Last night was special. I left Little Rock late afternoon and had a pretty long drive up to St. Louis. Decided to take some back country highways, was getting tired of the interstate, which made it a tad bit longer. It was one of the few times I've driven during the day and it was wonderful. The landscape, especially away from the highway, was gorgeous. Got to see the vast skies change as the sun went down and passed through some quiant little towns in Northern Arkansas. Luckily I had a place to crash outside St. Louis (in Illinois), with a friend I hadn't seen in many years, so the drive up was relaxing and laid back knowing that. I arrived in around 11pm or so, and Diane and I quickly found ourselves talking the past and catching up. It was wonderful and was pysically and emotionally reparative after all that driving. Opened up a couple of beers and started diving right in.
It's actually fun to relive bits of the tour through talking to the people I've been staying with. It doesn't get old because I love their energy and interest, and more importantly I spend so much time alone that the sharing and retelling of stories returns me to human form. As we continued, dipping in and out of topics, I realized that she had been working on a novel for the past 5+ years. The house was spattered with notebooks, pages full of chapters and drafts, in a very classic author/artist type unorganized way. It was beautiful and surprising, as I had no idea she was wokring on this. As the back and forth continued I realized that she was taking a lot of inspiration from the Meter Tour and it's part of why she even brought up her book. I was really struck by the moment. Inside this crazy idea I was doing she was finding motivation to not only finish her own projects but find the strength to let them fly. We shared about fear and how paralyzing it can be. I told her I fought the same things every day, and that even with this Meter Tour there was a constant voice of doubt in my head. It was normal and everybody goes through it. We slowly turned the night into a space of pushing one and other to keep down the path and not give up. It was awesome. It felt like this journey I was stumbling through and trying to figure out was also feeding her to do the same in her own way. It was special. "Get that novel done baby" I told her as I hit the pillow and got some rest.
I have never seen the Arch (St. Louis) before. Of course I've seen photos, but never in person. Honestly it's one of those things that you should see. I would have never put the Arch in that category of something worth traveling out of your way to experience, but I was wrong. Because I was coming in from Illinois, about a 20 min drive to St. Louis, I came into the city from the "back"....not on the interstate that is. As I turned the corner to see skyscrapers, out of the ground rose this gorgeous Arch. The shape of course was immediately recognizable...and unexpectedely moving. Just as intense was that the neighborhood and direction from which I came was obviously in hard times...so seemingly below this beautiful arch were abandoned buildings, people on the street asking for change, and a neighborhood in transition. It was a stark contrast, as when you see photos of the Arch it of course shows none of that. All of which was on "the other side". I continued into the City, another cloudy day, and found myself a parking spot near the Arch. It's one thing to see it from a distance and it's another thing to walk right up to the sucker. It's intense. It's beautiful. Something that should be seen. After getting all of that out of my system, I got some coffee perpared myself mentally and started heading to the few neighborhoods that had been suggested to me....time to play.
An hour or so later I ended up in an area known as "The Loop". A long street full of shop, restaurants, cafes, etc. I easily found a spot, as it was still pretty early, in front of a good looking Bistro (BBQ type food), and to the right of that a cute musical instrument store. I did my usual walk to look for tea and some water, and headed back to the truck to get set up. The day continued on cloudy, but it wasn't raining so it was time. As I started to play the typical unfolding of events started. Not much interest at the begining, then slowly a couple people stopped with a smile and/or tip, and then slowly a few people stopped with a story or question. One type person was "Dave". He was a young guy, probably late teens maybe early 20's, and said he had come out to the street because his father was high on cocaine and not enjoyable to be around. I'm always struck by how people sometimes so quickely open up. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but it's been happening a lot on tour and I of course don't shut the door. We talked a little in between songs, and turns out he is also a musician and had dreamt of getitng his own stuff out there. He became quite emotional in expressing his own aspirations and dreams, again through the lens of this Meter Tour, and ended up staying with me for a good 40 min. Inevitabely he asked if he could play guitar, which I agreed too...so he climbed into the truck and played some Third Eye Blind ;-)
The show continued with a spatter of a few other people stopping to listen for a second, as well as an old timer musician who bought a CD (very rare) and told me how much respect he had for me in putting myself out like this. I thanked him and kept on playing. It was a solid day and trip to St. Louis. All the way from Diane the night before, to the few connections on the street the following day. Nothing crazy and nothing negative...it was very much like the weather. A sort of calmness in the air. I had no complaints as I started to break down. One of the waiters in the bistro (direclty in front of me) came out and apologized he couldn't sit and listen because he was working...but told me he was a musician and loved the concept. That was great. As for the music shop next door, a few guys came out of there and didn't even give me a glance or second of interest. Musicians are such self centered dicks. Well, most of them at least haha.