Our last concert of the season was at Duke University, and I’ve been looking forward to it for months. We were last there in 2013, but I still remembered the amazing southern hospitality like it was yesterday. And this time was no different. All of us spent an inordinate amount of time just discovering all that the table had to offer. It was actually hard to tear ourselves away from the food to go do our sound check. Every time we had thirty seconds of break, someone would disappear and come back with crumbs all over their shirt. Gourmet chocolate, toffee, locally made cheeses, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, food bars we’ve never seen before, not to mention the craft beer and bottle of Laphroaig (okay, that’s on Will’s rider, but still) – I mean, it gives smorgasbord a whole new definition. And for those of you who are looking at the pictures and shrugging your shoulders, you have to understand, this stuff means a lot to touring musicians who have to eat crap on the road all the time and are at the mercy of presenters the day of a show when we’re spending all day tech-ing.
Baldwin Auditorium is no slouch, either. They had just finished renovations when we played there in 2013, and it’s still impressive. The hall is absolutely beautiful in its new state, with gorgeous acoustics and a fancy plenum underneath the perforated stage. I caught our presenter on his hands and knees in the green room inspecting some possibly loose baseboard, and it reminded me that last time we were here I saw him fretting over some other small imperfection that only he can see. I guess when it’s your home, every detail matters. We decided at the last minute to work up a couple more of Will’s songs as encores (it’s never too late) and we found ourselves wishing we had done that from the beginning. It really rounded out the evening and our season in a lovely way.
We’re done touring for the time being, but still working like mad behind the scenes as we prepare for the inaugural Blackbird Creative Lab in T minus 4 weeks and 4 days!