Good Night to Paradise... It is finished. We are all home now. The last three days were somewhat of a whirlwind and so there was not time to write to you. But now, I will try to catch you up...
Toledo was a great show. The day for Jeanne, Bubba and me started at 4:00 am in Los Angeles and travel took up the better part of it. From seeing the sun come up in the Hollywood Hills where we live to seeing the sun set on the drive from Detroit to Toledo, we never stopped moving. I think the knowledge that the end was upon us gave us an added edge. It was just plain old fun to be on that stage. Larry Jordan, who was to direct the video shoot in Chicago, arrived that afternoon too and we got a chance to have a little pre-production chat after the show. Knowing he was at the helm made us all breathe a sigh of relief that things would be done impeccably. The next day we got to Madison in plenty of time to get some rest in the afternoon. We all needed to shut up and rest the pipes, which made the show that night that much better, and everybody sang their butts off. It was Chuck's birthday and we got him some very grown-up stuff--Pete, the Repeating Parrot, some Gak-Splat, big ears to wear over his own, etc., etc., and before I played my acoustic solo I called Chuck to the front of the stage and Dennis walked out with a lit up birthday cake and we ALL sang happy birthday to the coolest guy in the band... Madison reminds me a lot of Seattle, very youth driven. Interestingly enough, there is no Alternative radio station there. The big 50,000 watt monster fm plays a mixture of great Classic Rock and the best of the new music from new and older bands. Jeanne and I drove from Madison to Chicago the next day and ended up listening to the radio the entire way. What a change. From very reliable sources, this is expected to be a new trend at radio. I think it would be great to have radio like that everywhere. I actually DO like to listen to the radio in the car, but in the past couple of years have found myself more interested in mindless talk radio. What does that tell you? Let's keep our fingers crossed that my sources are correct!
We went directly to the Rosemont Horizon and I checked out the video and audio trucks. Over $7,000,000 worth of gear there between the trucks and the cameras. It was another Chicago STYX concert with all the friends and family who could make it there. Really great to see all those familiar faces, and that was made easier because we hung extra lighting trusses over the main floor and lit the wings too, so that the fans could be seen in the concert footage. I can only speak for myself, but EVERY direction I looked in I saw someone I knew--Franky Sullivan from SURVIVOR was in the 4th row in front of me, Dennis' parents were 8th row to my right, JY's brother Eric was 10th row center, Dennis Panozzo was over a few seats from Eric, Eddie Wohlford was with Jeanne in the 4rth row in front of Dennis, Kathy Kamarados was with Matt in the front row center (this was her 31st show of the summer!), Forbes and Dawn were 8th row on my right. See what I mean? It was ELECTRIFYING! I don't know how to explain it, but we were men on a mission and it was as if we had been given extraordinary powers. EVERYBODY in the band was so ON, it was incredible. It just felt perfect. AND we recorded the show from a dozen different angles and on 48 tracks of audio. So, look for this to be available later this year...
Bill Smith, Bears' photographer brought some beautiful color 8x10's of our performance at Soldier Field a couple of weeks ago, when we sang the anthem at the Bears-Cowboys game. Thanks Bill! During SHOW ME THE WAY, you could feel the sadness like a heavy blanket when Dennis talked about John. It was so personal to be there in John's hometown. To think how John would have been so touched to see and hear the standing ovation he received made it hard to sing. But we sang it with some real passion, and at the song's end, we projected a giant photograph of John on the scrim behind us with the dates 1948-1996. Even now it is hard to write this... It WAS a very emotional evening. When we took our final bow, we all took turns exchanging big bear-hugs and I assume I wasn't the only one that everyone said "I love you" to. I do love this band.
And so my friends We'll say good night For time has claimed its price But tonight can always last As long as we keep alive The memories of Paradise
Thank you friends for an unforgettable tour. Stay tuned?
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