2011 US Tour Post #1

Hey everyone!

Well the fact that five days and five shows in this is the first time I've had time I've had time to sit down and write a tour blog should tell you something (and the fact that I'm doing it at 3:30am should tell you even more).  This tour was sort of planned to be last year's tour on steroid and so far it's been delivering on its promise quite well.  One thing I've noticed at least about myself that's different about this tour than the previous ones is I'm no longer in awe of the idea of touring.  That's not a bad thing minus the maybe slightly diminished sense of wide eyed wonder of seeing parts of the country for the first time and feeling like a real rock and roll star on the road for the first time like I did last year.  What it's meant for me is approaching this tour with a more practical and focused approach, concentrating more on really getting the most that I can out of each gig and studying how to get the best results.  One really big step in that direction has been having more merch to sell.  Ricky and I both have new eps of material that we've each been working on independently over the past couple of months, her in San Antonio with producer Gordon Raphael, me at my home studio (wow that's a mouthful!) in Elk Grove.  It's been great having new material to share with people and it's given me a new focus for carving my sets around focusing on the newly recorded songs.  We've come up with some pretty cool packaging for our eps as well.  I've put mine in picture frames (after a song on the ep called "Picture Frame") and Ricky has hand crafted pillow cases for hers.  Our one rule was that our packaging material had to start with the letters "pi".  I also made t-shirts which so far have been selling like cold cakes....I say, wait until warm weather season and then they'll be flying off the shelves....right....  Another new development is that along with flip camera-ing as we always have, we've also been recording every show we can through the sound board.  Those are being made primarily for our highest donors but we'll probably be leaking some of them out here and there along the way...speaking of which...

First things first, I need to give a shout out to everybody who has donated so far to our tour through Feed the Muse.  I can't say enough how much you guys are literally the oil that this tour runs on.  So without further adieu...  Thanks a million to:

Brian Bourgeois
Steve Fawsett
The Hunter Family
Sandy Sumners
Linda Michalowski
Caitlin Bellah
Clint Parker
Ruben Garcia
Jonathan Broom
Joanne Lavoie
Gio Bruno
Kevin and Lily Mershon
Brent and Mary Ann Bourgeois (aka Dad and Mom!)
Glen Kimberlin
Gregory Darrow
Frank Lopez
Kathleen Barber (aka Auntie Kathi!)

You guys are amazing and are as I've said many times literally the reason we can do this tour at all.  For anyone else who wants to donate towards gas, food, lodging, etc you are more than welcome to do so at http://www.feedthemuse.net/bourgeoisberger.

Moving right along...  We left early Wednesday morning (well early for us...about 10:30am!) from Sacramento to drive up to Eugene, OR for our first gig, an eight and a half hour drive.  The drive up was beautiful.  There was snow all over the mountains as we passed from California into Oregon (luckily not on the road) it was awesome getting this last glimpse of winter in a more classic sense than we Sacramentans are accustomed to experiencing.  The gig that night was at a place called "Cozmic Pizza" which...you guessed it...was a hip and quite spacious pizza joint located in the heart of the city....or at least one of the kidney's of the city...I guess I don't really know the layout of Eugene well enough to comment.  Fun show...got to reconnect with some old friends we'd made last tour, Craig Leve, Randy Layton and Linda Miller all of whom have continued to be extremely supportive of our music.  We drove after the show to Portland to stay with Ricky's Uncle Carson.  One thing that absolutely needs to be said is that equally important as the people donating money are the people who are letting us stay with us along the way, like Uncle Carson, like the Grace Family who we've stayed with over the course of our Washington gigs, and so many countless others across the country whom I'll be mentioning along the way.  They are truly our angels.

I had some time to wander the Hawthorne Blvd district of Portland the next day, a very colorful neighborhood with a healthy array of vintage clothes shops, used record stores and ethnic food restaurants....although I did have to walk five whole blocks to find the nearest coffeehouse which I'd previously assumed to be unthinkable in Portland.  It's cool coming back to these cities and having memories in them from last year.  Some of those memories are sad...there is someone important to me who was with us last year and not this year....but mostly it's an awesome feeling as more and more of the country becomes more familiarity.

The gig that night was at 4th Avenue Tavern in Olympia.  It was a pretty small crowd but the people who were there really were into us which I guess in the end is what counts.  We stayed that night and the next three in Mukilteo, just north of Seattle, with the Grace Family who truly live up to their name.  They hosted us last year and it was awesome coming to a place that felt like home away from home.  My friend Becky, a forever Seattlite, made me a giant and truly remarkable (!) to-do of things to see and do in Seattle.  It may take me the next three tours to get through the list but I was able to cross a few things off visiting the Explore Music Project--a museum dedicated to Seattle's place in rock history (so you know, lots of Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana)--and the beautiful sculpture park with it's gorgeous view of Seattle's bayside.

Friday night's gig was at the Tiger Lounge in Seattle where I was given an amazing pesto, spinach and feta cheese pizza, by far my favorite thing about the gig.  Saturday night's show was at the Hi Fidelity Lounge in Bremerton, WA which we had to take a ferry to get to.  Ricky was very excited at the prospect of having our car transported by a fairy and we had to have a conversation about homophones which was concluded by agreeing that Verizon is indeed the most used cellular service in San Francisco's Castro District.  Sorry, just making sure you're still paying attention.  ;)  At the Hi-Fidelity Lounge where I was given an incredible pesto, spinach and feta calzone (definitely a huge highlight of the gig), we ran into a familiar face, Gina Belliveau who we had opened for last year in Tacoma.  Gina is a total rock star in waiting, utilizing loop pedals to add percussion, bass and vocal harmonies to both her original songs and creative choice of cover songs.  I was impressed last year and even more so this year, and it was nice for once to not be the only artist on the bill with the hard to pronounce French last name!  We had a good sized crowd and despite some issues with the sound system, it was an overall fun show.  The trip back to Mukilteo was not so fun as the GPS led us back to the ferry which was long since closed, and it was being very stubborn about showing us another way.  We rolled back into the Grace's home around 4am...

We spent yesterday hanging out with Stephanie Grace who showed us around different parts of Seattle such as the Fremont District, the U-Dub area, and Gas Works park which had an amazing view of the Seattle skyline.  The gig last night was at the Jewel Box Theater in Seattle, definitely up there as one of my favorite venues I've ever played at.  Gina was on the bill again for this show as well as the Fortune Dwellers, a groovy horn fronted band that we had the pleasure of playing with last year as well.  Nothing beats performing in an actual theater in front of an audience of people who are there for no other reason but to see the show.

That's all for now.  Our show tonight is at Mandolin Cafe in Tacoma.  Here a few videos from the last few nights (Ricky I'm sure will post her own videos in her blog):

"New December" at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3ySRG492-U
"Everybody Knows It Was Me" at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiHV92c4tW0
"Have It Your Way" at the Jewel Box Theater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zUKammaRtA

Gina Belliveau performing "Hey Ya" by Outkast at the Jewel Box Theater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePR9hl-i8nY


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