This is the view from my hotel room where the tour began. On February 21st, 2012, Bert, Hideyo and I met in Saint Louis to rehearse and prepare for a 10 week, 45 concert tour. We visited 24 states (including Quebec and Ontario in Canada), drove over 10,000 miles in rental vans and flew over 7000 miles.
From St. Louis we went to Indianapolis, Lexington, Frankfort, Athens, Charlotte, Asheville, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Birmingham, Jackson, Houston, Austin, Dallas and Oklahoma city, and then had a few days off before we resumed the tour in Minneapolis.
This is how we spend our days. Bert and I do all the driving, Hideyo helps with the navigating. We pass the time by working on our laptops, sleeping and occasionally listening to music, but most of the time we keep it pretty quiet in the van. Trying to find decent food while traveling is always a challenge. We are often limited to the choices that we find when we pull off a the highway exit for gas. Sometimes I use my iphone to find a good restaurant nearby. Usually we don’t have time to stop and have a nice meal, so we often end up at fast food places out of convenience, but always try to find something better than the usual fast food chains.
Here is a video from the show in Atlanta taken by our friend Christine:
I was very happy to play the show in Jackson, as we had never previously played in the state of Mississippi before. From Jackson we had a long drive across the Bayou to Houston. In Texas, we returned to one of our old favorite venues, the Cactus Cafe at the University of Texas.
The Cactus Cafe is through the entrance there on the left of this building.
Here is a video from the Cactus Cafe concert, by Kurt Bartelmehs:
After a wonderful show at the Jazz Lab in Oklahoma City, we had a few days off with each of us flying home, and then resuming the tour in Minnesota. In Minneapolis we played a “community-outreach” concert at a center for disabled people called Work Abilities.
Here is a video from that performance:
On this tour, we were very fortunate to play in some really amazing venues, like this one here in Hartford Wisconsin.
We stayed at a beautiful summer home on Lake Sinnissippi owned by sponsors of the show in Hartford. The next morning, we had a few hours before we had to drive to Illinois, so I took the canoe out.
Hideyo Bert and Paul at the Lake House near Hartford WI.
After great concerts in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, we did a series of performances in Michigan including a very special show at The Ark in Ann Arbor, with special guests Tony Levin and Abby Swidler. Playing with Tony on upright bass gave us a chance to feature a few more pieces from our recent Masterworks Album. And with Tony on cello and Abby on violin the new arrangement of Perpetuum Mobile really came to life. The show at the Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo was also really good with an amazing opening set by Rachel Davis.
From Michigan we headed to the East Coast for concerts in New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
After the show in Cambridge Boston, I was invited by an Astronomer from Harvard to go to the Harvard Observatory to look through the telescope there. Wow! I saw the rings on Saturn! Amazing!
From Vermont, we headed north to Montreal to join up with our friends in the Montreal Guitar Trio. We had a much needed day off in Montreal. I rented a bicycle and rode to the top of Mont Royal and took this photo:
In Quebec City, we played a sold out show at one of the finest venues in the world: Palais Montcalm.
It’s a real pleasure to play shows with our friends in the Montreal Guitar Trio. Every time we play together it gets better and better. Sebastien wrote a challenging new piece especially for the sextet called Magneto.
After 5 great shows in Canada, we headed west to California. CGT arrived a couple days early in Los Angeles for a day off and then a video shoot in Burbank.
For the day off in Los Angeles, I rented a BMW 1200GS motorcycle and rode up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu and then up a small canyon to the Mulholland Highway. Great way to spend a day off in LA!
Back when the CGT was actually based in California, we became friends with Los Angeles film director Fred Raimondi (next to Bert in the photo). Fred has directed and done special effects for some major motion pictures and is highly respected in the film industry. We had been talking with him for a while now about doing a video for the CGT piece “The Marsh”, and Fred made it happen. Another well known LA film director Joe Murray was the director of photography on the shoot. Joe lives next to Neil Young up near Saratoga California on a large property overlooking the ocean, and was telling me stories of Neil, Eddie Vedder and other rock stars. I’m very excited to see how the video turns out. There were lots of very up close shots. You can see in this photo that Fred is holding the head stock on Bert’s guitar and the camera is just a few inches away from Bert’s fingerboard. I saw a little bit of the footage and it looked very intense and very cool. Photo by Bill Hibbets from Inner Knot.
Our friends from Montreal had part of a day off at the hotel in Pismo beach. This was the MG3′s first time touring in California! When Bert, Hideyo and I arrived in Pismo Beach the MG3 guys were very red and sunburnt from hanging out on the beach. We gave them the new name the Lobster Trio!
The guys in the MG3 were very excited to be touring in California and we were happy that our agency had booked some really nice venues for us to play, including Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Villa Montalvo in Saratoga and the Napa Opera House. Patricia Fripp gave us an excellent introduction at Villa Montalvo!
The final show with the MG3 was a sold out concert in Bend Oregon at the Tower Theater. It was a great way to end the tour with the MG3, and then the CGT had one final show in Forest Grove near Portland before heading home after the long, but really great tour.