Moving on …
Well, OK … I have put this off as long as I can stand!
Why is it so hard for me to sit my ass down and write? It’s not that I don’t know how.
Maybe, on top of all the usual reasons one procrastinates, I’m avoiding feeling what I’d rather not. It’s not like I haven’t done my grieving. I have. But I know there’s more where that came from.
Sure enough, when I re-read what I had written last time (“One Month Later” … on August 24th) in preparation for picking up where I left off, a whole new round of tears started leaking out my eyes. It’s hard to move on when the past remains so present. Still, I feel like I owe it to myself to chronicle some of this journey … and that I owe it to all of you to say SOMEthing about what’s happened, happening and may happen in the future. So, here goes …
First of all, the show in Deadwood, SD, was really quite successful. A beautiful setting … the stage stretched from sidewalk to sidewalk, raised high above the endless sea of lawn chairs assembled in the street corridor between the row of tall buildings to either side. The look and feel of the Old West permeated the place. To everyone’s delight, the band sounded way better than it should have been able to … yet it was undeniably good. That was a relief! Mission accomplished.
With the first full show behind us (and successful to boot), I headed home with a definite sense that the energy had shifted in our (and my) favor. The prior 30 days (exactly) had been a pressure-cooker of deadline chasing on many fronts simultaneously. What I didn’t mention in the previous post is that, along with everything else that needed tending to, I had to learn 18 songs in order to play at Guitar Town in Copper Mt, CO with John Jorgenson and Leroy Parnell, help move my younger daughter to college, and get my house ready to go on the market. But it seemed that all the really heavy lifting was behind me at this point … and the fact that I had had a night off in Rapid City to write a blogpost about it was the first sign that things would begin to get a little easier.
The following week was full of interviews (listen to one HERE) and such, in preparation for the next round of gigs, which began at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, MA (outside Boston), on Friday, August 31st. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer venue than this grand old theater-in-the-round and, being in Fly’s “backyard”, there was an added hometown feel to this well-attended show. It was billed as “Orleans with special guests John Cafferty & Michael ‘Tunes’ Antunes” and, as always, JC and Tunes brought their “A game” to the show.
While the whole night was memorable, the greatest magic occurred during “Tender Years“, which you really should witness right NOW …
Two days later found us at the Levitt Steel Stacks Pavilion in Bethlehem, PA, with Orleans alumnus drummer Charlie Shew subbing for Charlie Morgan on this particular show. The thing I remember most about this gig is the venue itself … a modern, open-air stage in front of an ancient, rusting, hulking behemoth of a steel mill structure; like something right out of “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.” The juxtaposition of the old and new was nothing short of surreal.
Then home again, but only for a few days. Off to Manchester, NH, to play the Palace Theater on Friday, September 7th, where we were briefly joined on stage by James Montgomery on blues harp. Sunday the 9th found 4 of us … Lane, Fly, John and myself (no drummers) … in Wachusett, MA. Tuesday the 11th we all reconvened in Orlando, FL to once again play with JC and Tunes at the Hard Rock Live. This time we were joined by Wally Palmar of The Romantics (Talkin’ in Your Sleep, That’s What I Like About You) to play for the folks at the Solar Energy Trade Show.
I have family there. My sister, Lynda, lives in Kissimme, which is also where Lane calls home. So, after the Hard Rock show, I took a day off at Sis’ house. Being the eldest and the least connected to Larry (because, unlike Lane and me, she did not work with him on a daily basis for years on end), she seems to have taken his death the hardest. She asks questions; I offer the best answers I can. Sometimes there just are no answers.
From Orlando to Woodstock, NY, on Thursday the 13th, for a few days off prior to the scheduled memorial event. It may sound odd but, when I’m in that town, I stay with she who was my first wife in the house we bought together back in 1985. She and I remain best of friends, and she now knows me for the past 35 years, through the best and worst of times. There’s some real value in having friends like that.
On Saturday I drove down to Rye, NY, to meet Lane, Lynda and my niece Rebecca (Lynda’s adult daughter), who had flown up for the memorial. But on that particular day, we all descended upon our Aunt Betty. Betty is 92 and still kickin’ … the last survivor of her generation on my mother’s side. We Hoppens shared our childhoods with her kids, our cousins, and it’s always good to see that clan.
Then, finally, the BIG DAY … Sunday, September 16th … the day of the Larry Hoppen Memorial Gathering at the Bearsville Theater just outside of Woodstock.
But that story is for the next post.