(Part thirteen of a sequential tour narrative. Go to April, 25 2009 to start at the beginning.)
We made it to Park Avenue CDs in plenty of time for our in-store performance. Turns out, there was another act on the bill and we had their whole set to decompress before taking the stage. There was a great turnout for the in-store... at least triple the size of the Auburn show which put things into some kind of demented perspective. I purchased the CD/DVD of Crack The Skye because I needed to learn lyrics and watch the "making of" footage. At this point, I was dorkin' out on the new Mastodon, big time. The folks at Park Ave. were very nice and gracious. They had snacks and beer for us when we arrived and they later sent us on our way with a ton of beer and Vitamin Water! Tim played acoustic, I played direct through the P.A., and Sam played floor tom and snare. It worked out really well, I think. We went straight to Will's Pub to load in.
Here's and example of why the iphone lies: We searched the internet for Will's pub. We hit the "Get Directions" button that plugs the coordinates straight into your iphone map app. We typed in "current location" and it told us where to go. What the computer age didn't know was that Will's Pub burned down last year and that there is a new Will's pub in a new location. The address the internet/liephone gave us was a brand new medial facility built atop the ruins of the old bar. Luckily, the new Will's was on the same street in Winter Haven and we made without too much cussing.
The show in Orlando turned out to be one of the best of the tour. Matthew Butcher opened the show and delivered a great performance. A couple other bands played and then we had a great set. I met Kevn Kinney after the show and we had a nice conversation about southeastern rock and roll in the 80's and 90's. He has played my hometown (Charlotte) many times over the years which led to a discussion about the city's big clubs of yesteryear, The Pterodactyl, 4808, and The Milestone.
There was a huge crowd out for this show, despite there being several festivals going on in Orlando that weekend. Our dinner at some family oriented fishmonger was good. I had a ton of shrimp and gallons of sweet tea. Sam and I stayed at some motel. The next day, we left Orlando early to try and do some scenery lameness in St. Pete's. Tim and Sam wanted to visit the Dali Mueseum so we liephoned its location. Once inside and faced with a steep entry fee, I dug deep and asked myself if I cared enough about Dali to pay a lot of money to see his art. Myself told me that I didn't so I made a couple of phone calls and sightsaw instead. Visual (2D) art is a tricky one for me in that I'm not interested in the majority of media, genres, and styles. I love photography and I find many styles of painting appealing, but I feel like I've seen enough of Dali's work on refrigerators and dormroom walls to satisfy the need to see a visual representation of Pink Floyd's "Meddle." That's a bit of a generalization, isn't it? That's right, it is.
We then drove to Clearwater in search of the beautiful white beaches full of sanddollars, palm trees and bikini-clad women tanning themselves beside coolers full of cold beer. Wrong. We first got to Indian Rocks Beach which reminded me of some of the more residential beaches I have visited in my life and therefore, a nice calm place to chill on the beach. Instead of stopping there, we drove north to Clearwater proper to a public beach full of people I'd rather not see in bathing suits. After about 45 minutes, we split in order to find a snack and a beer. We found both at a bar nearby and we consumed $2 Pacifico, oysters and shrimp while a cover band played Eagles songs on the patio of the bar next door. Ahhh, beach life. Cold beer, tourists, flip flops, good food, cover bands... wait, that kinda sound like Austin.
The show in Tampa was at a bar called New World Brewery. It didn't seem to be a normal venue because as we arrived, the soundman was assembling the P.A. on the covered brick patio in the courtyard. That's fine, whatever. "Last show of the tour, let's have fun." I drank plenty of free beer and was nice and toasty when we went on. There were some great moments in the set because Sam and I were both throwing caution to the wind and cutting loose. It was a good way to end and we went back to Orlando after the show, looking forward to the next day. Our plan was to go to the beach and decompress and then go into the studio Tuesday relaxed and record many of the newer jams we had played on the tour. However, this was not to be so. The heavens decided that this was the week that Florida would drown in torrential rains. Bummer. Good thing our hotel was attached to a mall...