I last checked in a week ago, from Seattle. On Saturday we played the Bend festival to an enthusiastic audience. On Sunday we performed in Portland – we liked the Alberta Rose theater and loved the neighborhood – and then we had a day off in Napa on Monday. Four us had the good fortune to dine with Michael Chiarello at his Bottega restaurant. I had not met Michael before, but I knew the evening was going to be special when he took away the menus and asked if we minded if he just cooked a few dishes for us. I love, love, love when a chef improvises. By that I don’t necessarily mean inventing new dishes on the spot, but creating a spontaneous “set list” – like I do when I perform solo. Michael then talked about the syncopation of a meal, the journey created by multiple courses, the accents, hitting different parts of the palette, and so on. We enjoyed fabulous food, great wines, a free-flowing conversation and returned to our hotel after more than four hours.
I joked with Houman about the ups and downs of touring… one day we perform in a club with a bad sound system and the next in a fabulous theater or performing arts center, one day we cannot find a decent meal in or around the venue and the next day we are invited to Tetsuya’s in Sydney or the Bottega in Napa! Touring is very interesting indeed. I love the ups and downs – they remind me of the seasons in general and the dramatic weather in Santa Fe.
After the sold-out Napa Opera House we performed at the Livermore PAC, which was also sold-out and where Houman and I decorated a guitar, to be auctioned off for the performing arts center. After the concert we drove south to San Juan Capistrano. In the early morning hours I was met by my friend Joe Mozdzen, and after our annual breakfast at the Ramos House we took a bunch of photos. This is one of the 60 we picked – out of hundreds. It’s a little different and quite intense. Too intense for an album cover, but perhaps a good choice for the inside. Joe captured many different expressions, some of which I will share in the coming days.
I am writing this in San Diego, where we arrived around 02:00 this morning. I was scheduled to do a phone-interview for San Antonio at 09:00 and having to choose between sleep or pre-interview coffee, picked sleep and had coffee afterwards – at Caffe Italia on India Street, of course.