After leaving the Phoenix airport just after the ass crack of dawn, my version of the Your Year Tour kicked off in Nashville, TN. And by that, I mean I was picked up at the airport, we loaded the van, and we headed out to Maryville, TN.
Because I was absolutely exhausted and took a two hour nap, I really can’t tell you what goes on in a tour van yet. I can tell you that all the guys in The New Schematics are sweethearts and let me have the bench to myself so I could stretch out. Much love for naps.
We also negotiated what my limits are in terms of shooting, and I was excited to see that they were all comfortable with all my proposals. Shows in bars or other small venues can be really hard to shoot, so having freedom to use flash or shoot from the stage is a really great safety net when I can’t get good shots with traditional methods.
We got to the venue, and I was instantly brought up to speed on what they meant when they explained that this was hardly a bells-and-whistles tour. There wasn’t much in the way of accommodations, other than the barrel the guys laid their clothes on that we lovingly dubbed “the green room.” While it would certainly make things easier to live in the lap of luxury, it reminds me of how I started shooting shows. My first few (with the exception of one or two) were in really difficult venues with really difficult bands and really difficult lighting. Did it create my best work? Not at all. But when I started shooting shows that were better from a production standpoint, they were 100x easier because I was accustomed to shooting in pitch black rooms. Hopefully, roughing it on couches and such will better prepare me for larger-scale tours. Or, I can at least tell myself that when I’m running on four hours of sleep.
I was pleasantly surprised with the lighting in our first venue. Smaller places like that are often severely lacking in light, but there were even a few times at Barley’s Taproom when the lighting was actually ideal. You can tell from some of them that the reds were slightly problematic, but again, that will likely only make me better (or drive me to insanity—we’ll see how I’m feeling on day 10).
Something that struck me was how much people genuinely love this band. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy their music, but I was first acquainted with the guys as business contacts, so my relationship is a little different. But while I was shooting, I would occasionally hear a fan exclaim when the band started one of their favorite songs, or talk excitedly about how they wanted to get their albums signed. It reminded me so much of that time period before I started working in the industry. I would go to concerts where I would wait for my favorite songs and get my album signed, and I would look at the roadies, photographers, and crew in jealousy. It was a weird moment to realize I’m now the person I envied two years ago.
Beyond the super fans and even people who had heard TNS before they came, people who had clearly just shown up were engaged the second they got there. All the applause was genuine, the album sales eagerly anticipated, and the kind words said with sincerity.
Today should be quite a bit different. I stayed at my cousin’s house last night, so this will be my first night with the band. Hopefully for their sake, I’ve outgrown my horrendous snoring (joking) (mostly).
I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of belonging while I’m out here. I’m currently grappling with the question of whether “your place” can be not a place, but rather a journey. It’s rather philosophical for noon, but again, we’ll see how I’m feeling in Cleveland.
Nothing too eventful has happened in the past 24 hours, although we did see a grown man walking around with a giant teddy bear. I honestly hope the rest of the trip continues to be uneventful, for sanity’s sake. I’m feeling blessed for my ability to sleep in strange places, and my borderline nocturnal schedule. They’re coming in quite handy.
Hopefully my Arizona-acclimated body doesn’t freeze in Richmond. Until next time!