The Taming of the Shoe
Peaches En Randalia #14
We all reach our wall. It’s bound to happen. I suppose mine happened last June but I managed to keep traveling all the way until that fateful evening in December in San Francisco when I’d seen enough, heard too much, been down this road way too many times and needed a break. And that break would, indeed, come. A week after Trey Anastasio’s Warfield gigs last year, he was arrested for various charges which eventually led him down one pathkeep clean or go to jail. That isn’t really an option or a choice. It’s a mandatory step and one would be hard-pressed to find a more definitive sentence.
And the echo returns with a different message…
I suppose the wall I initially hit happened at Bonnaroo last June when I had absorbed way too much music in a short period of time and just needed a break. The irony was that I would see one of the highlights of the year, later in the evening, when the Superjam commenced and we got the debut of G.R.A.B. featuring Mike Gordon, Joe Russo, Trey Anastasio and Marco Benevento with a very special guest named Phil Lesh. But I didn’t know that at the time. At 2pm on that weird Saturday afternoon, I sat in my hotel room and thought of all of the shows I had seen over the years and wondered if I had hit all of my peaks and was just on the downside of my existence as a fan. As fate would have itone phone call from a friend shook me from my silent ruminations and reminded me that a) he was a friend and my editor and b) I was also there to do a jobreport on the happenings in Manchester from my own unique perspective. Wellthe story has a happy ending as I was able to file my report like some eighth generation/watered-down version of Hunter S. Thompson faxing his journals from Zaire. However, the problems I encountered in Tennessee returned home along with my dirty sandals and backpack filled with magazines, notebooks and raggy T-shirts. What am I doing? What am I writing about? And most importantly to people outside my own headwhat happened to the shows that really mattered? The bands that engaged our collective imagination? Re-arranged our travel plans? Cleared out our bank accounts? Put thousands of miles on our beater cars? I took care of my shoes, digbut who took care of me? I certainly didn’t.
And the clichinally floats in front of my face, refusing to leave until I knew
Alasthis is a story without an ending. Frustrating, eh? Well, what does one do when the light is shining at the end of the tunnel but it ain’t exactly offering anything pleasant? Re-wind back to the fateful night at the end of the California run in December 2006 with Trey. I see myself reflected in his facesomeday, someway, somehow, this life on the road is going to end and the problems that have accumulated while we’ve been shuffling from town to town will arrive like a guest in a haunted house who has been made to wait, made to sit patiently while the host ignores his dark presence; a presence that can only bid woeful tidings when one can no longer see beyond today. One day at a time, indeed. Hardest words I’ve ever known.
_Randy Ray stores his work at www.rmrcompany.blogspot.com.