I have a rough night of it on the bus. Sleep will not swaddle me, it just claws me down into its shallows intermittently. The bus feels like it’s one minute skidding across train tracks, the next floating on pillows of cloud. I wake in a sour mood, go marching off for breakfast which I find (like all the others of our party) within a few blocks in a traditional American diner. The Huevos Rancheros are delicious but come with an enormous slice of melon, which along with fucking strawberries is a 1980s Californian affectation that should NEVER have been adopted across this great nation. Eggs and fruit on the same plate are like biker jackets and neckties — they should never be seen together. Why would I want egg yolk on a pice of melon? In god’s name why?
One of those circular ceiling loudspeakers drizzles pop upon me; Latin, acoustic, country — all the inoffensive flavours of manufactured music you can think of. The one thing very noticeable as you leave the coast is the absence of mask wearing. There’s often a whiff of disdain when you enter places masked up. For some it’s still a political act. I completely understand middle America’s distaste for being judged by smug cosmopolitan liberals. But I don’t think I should be judged for being considerate. Bob Dylan comes on, something from his shit ‘80s period where he sounds like Daffy Duck in a fit of pique. It’s a bright blank day outside, cold enough to keep you on the hop. I deposit my $25 and take to the street.
I walk a few miles north on Broadway, the sun glinting aggressively off the six lane highway. These sprawled cities built around the automobile are extremely alienating on foot. The complete absence of street life is unsettling, yet beyond all the tinted windows and blank facades life is bubbling along — you just can’t see it. On the reverse trip I pop into Corvus Coffee Roasters. In Glasgow a roaster is an idiot but I fail to find much amusement in this. I’m just a little sick of the soullessness of these last few towns. I crave a crowded market, narrow streets, mopeds, a mob outside a pub. The last few days have been an inexorable parade of pick-up trucks sailing by in arrow straight trajectories. I sip my ethically-sourced drip coffee and poke a little vegan oat ball around a side plate. The cars brush past silently beyond the double glazing. The sun rains down, the dust lifts a touch then settles. I gaze across a parking lot on the other side of the street. The white tips of the Rockies sit stoically awake. Time for the long march back to the mothership.
Iain tips us off about a decent army surplus shop round the corner. B&B and I rummage happily among the hoodies and sweatshirts for a while before soundcheck where we find Kris proudly sporting a new leather jacket with a smile as wide as Denver itself. The Gothic Theatre is by far the best sounding room we’ve encountered so far. Warm and big like a real concert hall, it meshes our disparate frequencies together in a nice stew.
In the below stage dressing room I sit at the make-up mirror regarding my blotchy skin and drooping jowls. I was past it long ago, this offensive reflection just confirms it. What an embarrassment, what a joke. What a laugh.
21 Responses to “Denver”
“I’m just a little sick of the soullessness of these last few towns. I crave a crowded market, narrow streets, mopeds, a mob outside a pub”
Sums up why I couldn’t live in most of the US!
Compared to you Justin I’m not sure Dylan ever had anything other than a shit period! You are quite simply the greatest songwriter since McCartney, the greatest wordsmith since Tennyson and the greatest blog-writer since Pontius was a pilot.
I have loved this band and you since 1989, I’ve danced, cried, drank, broken up, made up, fucked up and made out to your songs. They’ve been comfort through good and bad because I now know that somebody else sees and feels the world just like I do.
Reading your tour blogs is a wonderful insight into your world, I wish I was there but I am in spirit and I will be with you at Barrowlands soon enough along with a few other acolytes.
So my message is simple, you’re a national treasure, an icon to my generation and by God you are a comfort in the troubled times we are living in. You were born to share your genius with the world and I hope that you keep making and playing great music for decades yet. You aren’t old – heck look at all the greats McCartney, Jagger, Springsteen, Clapton – they’ve got 20 years on you and they’re still rocking and rolling…
While you’re out there go to Monument Valley for a sunset from “The View Hotel”, it’s the most beautiful and spiritually enriching place I have ever been and touches the soul like nowhere else.
Good luck with the rest of the tour and just take a moment to realise how much you and your little band mean to millions of us around the world…
I echo what everyone else has said. Never a joke, just a bad day. I would not have mentioned it, I don’t feel your health is a topic for public consumption, but people care, and Ruth is showing her concern, so please look after yourself.
I just want to say something a bit serious. You are awesome in every way- but please see a neurologist soon. Perhaps you have already done this. Your right hand obviously experiences tremor and we can all see it. It’s even noticeable in the videos that were made for the early Fatal Mistakes vids that were placed on the tm stores website as teasers. We are all concerned. Maybe it’s nothing but overuse and lack of sleep. But please get it checked out.
I am not saying you did wrong, understand that pls.
Thank you so much for coming to Denver and humoring us life-long fans with some autographs outside the tour bus. Be safe and be well on the rest of the tour!
Get away JC, your voice is amazing and you’re still a handsome devil 😈
Wearing a slave mask is considerate? Selling corporate media propaganda?
Take care Justin
Definitely not an embarrassment, past it or a joke
Thank you for all you do x
You are simply one of our best and most talented musicians and you and your band always manage to take me to my happy place. I have followed you since the 80s and will never stop loving your music. Take care of each other..
Justin. You are not past it an embarrassment or a joke.
Justin i really love reading your entries , i could easily read them all day and all night, you make me feel part of your journey and adventure even being so very very far away…Fatal Mistakes is a brilliant record after such a long break for the band, i love just about the whole thing my favourite 3 being Mockingbird Copy Me Now, Second Staircase and You Can’t Go Back…
All you needed was a hang with Merkle
Justin, I’m sure you will find The Fitzgerald and it’s neighborhood surrounding it, a delight. Beautiful architecture. You may want to try Mickey’s Diner for breakfast. It’s an old train car. Plenty of coal for you to shovel down your throat. I’ll be roaming the streets looking for something to aim my lens at. Keep your eyes peeled, you may see your doppleganger. Try and sleep if you can, you’ll have 6 hours to do it on the bus to St. Paul.
Remembers me of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the capital, it is one block of furniture stores, farm supplies and one (1!) cafe.
Seems like youve had a typical middle of the tour day, still, I wish, I could could watch the scenery from inside a nightliner bus one more time. Wont happen. Stuck in feeding 2 children from musical theatre gigs.
So glad you come to vist my hometown Hamburg, so I can finally stop my idiotic “come to germany” comments on facebook :-))
Disappointment when one looks in the mirror.
I can relate. But we are both still here for some
Its been a long 25 years, Justin.
See you in Atlanta.
At this age, those who don’t have blotchy skin and drooping jowls are trying way too hard to appeal to their own mirrors. It’s just not worth it.
Please tell me you will stop at Sweetwater Sound headquarters (full gear shop) in Fort Wayne, Indiana after your show in Chicago? I’ll cancel everything to see you fellas there.
I’m still trying to figure a way to catch one of your Midwest shows and still get back home to make sure my kids get to school the next day…
Love the Tour blogs! Justin, you need to write a book about “Life on the Road”! See ya Sunday at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN. So “pumped for a return to Minnesota”! Rock On!
Justin, I was at the Denver show and want to let you know how much I appreciate your music and how great the show was.
Twisted and SOSP are such important things to me and I was completely moved to hear you playing my favorite songs live for me.
So, just a quick thank you .
Make up mirrors (with those lights round) make everyone look worse than they really do.
Eggs and fruit?
I agree. No no no.