Something I’ve noticed about this last year and a half is the way time seems to speed up and slow down. One week on tour can very seriously feel like a month. A three-day break at home sleeping in your own bed suddenly becomes an extended vacation. We had two whole weeks off between our last tour and the start of this one, but it may as well have been a few months. In that time we didn’t play a single note together as a band. So when we met up to rehearse on Wednesday, it took a moment to shake off the rust, but I’ve got to say that once we did, it felt great to be back at it again.
We were all aware that in some ways, the shows at the Henry Fonda were the biggest shows our band has ever played and the fact that they were at home made them that much more momentous for us. We’d asked our friends at Yours Truly
to film and record both nights to mark the occasion. And in an attempt to do something a little special, we also arranged to have a small string and horn section play with us on “Who Knows Who Cares” and “Stranger Things.” We found someone last minute to design a simple light show and Andy came up with an intro video to play before we walked on stage. The combination of all these new variables started to weigh on us a bit as we pulled up to the venue. I remember getting pretty stressed out when both mine and Andy’s amps stopped working during sound check. But as it got closer to stage time and the room started to fill up, all of our energies started to shift.
It’s easy to lose perspective and get bogged down by things that don’t actually matter. It really is. But over the course of the past year, I’ve made a conscious effort to just be appreciative and enjoy myself. Moments like those I experienced during the Fonda shows keep you grounded and show you what’s really important. The sets were far from perfect and not everything worked smoothly, but experiencing the crowds on those nights is something I’ll never forget. Watching people sing along with such intensity and reacting so supportively, the energy in that room was just incredible. Most of our families were in the audience, seated in the balcony and while they’ve been to countless shows since we’ve been a band, the looks on their faces on these nights was something altogether different. At some point during the show, Taylor asked if anyone in the audience had been at our Spaceland residency last August and I remember having trouble deciding if playing those shows felt like yesterday or forever ago.
The morning after our second Fonda show, we drove to San Diego for a show at the Belly Up Tavern—but not before stopping at the beach to play an acoustic set for a local radio station. We were blown away by the turn out. And as we looked around, still groggy from sleep deprivation, surrounded by strangers and their dogs and palm trees and sailboats, I thought how ridiculous our lives were. At that point I realized we were once again on tour, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
(Photos by Bethany Toews)