Sunday Nov 23, 2008 - St Augustine, FL
We had our last show of this Florida run tonight at a great house in St Augustine, FL owned by friends of Nelson and MaryAnne. We played here the last time we came to Florida as well and found both times that the room sounds great. It has a very unusual shape to it, but works well for some "double decker" seating.

view from above (ready to go on)
Bert surveys his audience

Saturday Nov 22, 2008 - Jacksonville, FL
We played at a great spot called Wine Warehouse in Jacksonville tonight thanks to the organizing skills of our friends Nelson and Maryanne and the efforts of many more of their friends, some who came from as far away as Oregon! We're staying with them too for the next two nights. It seems they invited many many old high school friends to come to town this weekend for the two shows they helped put together and they're all socializing now in the main part of the house. The Genesis album Duke is cranking away. Nice choice!

"These guys are SOOO great!" (Patrick introduces)

Venue entrance: cleverly hidden and mislabeled

The road to Jacksonville

We had about a 4 hour drive today from Jupiter, FL to Jacksonville. Bert and Carrie picked me up about 9am, just as a large group of Manatees were being very active behind the house. We walked back to check them out for a few minutes. I think they might have freaked Bert out a little. When they would surface for air and exhale Bert sometimes exhaled a "whaaa" himself.

Last night we had our last (of 5!) Jupiter/Palm Beach area shows. We played as part of a "distinguished artist series" in the church Bert's in-laws are part of. They have a strong community going there who made for a very supportive audience. We also had our special guest soprano Laurel Alexander again. She did great as before and it was fun to hear Bert switch over to "old standard tuned" classical guitar so effortlessly.

"stage" view - Jupiter, FL
audience view

In the early afternoon, before heading to lunch and sound check, we stopped by a turtle rescue facility near Jupiter. Our friend Susan volunteers there, so we went in while she was working and had a great private tour, learning about the different types of sea turtles in the Florida area, and getting to see some babies and recovering adults up close.

Bert and friends
"follow the moon!"

"is that the moon?"

de-algae-ing the lil ones

Thursday November 20, 2008 - Palm Beach, FL
Tonight we played at a college called Palm Beach Atlantic. They have a beautiful chapel they use for concerts that had amazing acoustics. I think Bert could have played the whole show with no amplification and pulled it off fine. Not so the Stick player. Our audience was mostly music majors which was fun as I got to get a little more in-depth in explanations to their questions and make even more goofy jokes than normal.
Bert warms up at Palm Beach Atlantic University
almost time to open doors

PBA chapel ceiling
I think I'm seeing lights

the stage is set
PBA library Christmas tree lighting

This morning, our friend Susan that I've been staying with helped me see a wild manatee right up close and personal. She says in cold weather they come right into the canal behind her house because the water is warmer. They like to wollow in the mud at the bottom of the canal, but also seem to like getting some fresh water from her. Most of the time they stay submerged, and you can just see and hear their noses come up for air. But sometimes they seem to be checking out what the two legged creatures are up to a little more.
It followed me home, can I keep it?

glug glug glug

enough for now

Wednesday November 19, 2008 - Jupiter, FL
Tonight we played in a community center in Abacoa, FL. It was a real "do it ourself" affair with Bert's inlaws even supplying some lamps to help light our stage area, and some people bringing their own beach chairs. It made for a great personal environment though and all came together quite nicely. It's amazing how th sound of a room can affect a performance, but something about the construction of the room tonight made for a much warmer, fuller sound than last night and I think we actually played a little better because of it.

Oh look, a concert tonight!
Merch girl Carrie

Tuesday November 18, 2008 - Jupiter, FL
We had a day off yesterday, our only one of this trip. It was made much nicer by us getting our four hour drive done Sunday night and not saving it till Monday morning. So.. a nice leisurly day yesterday. The view out the back of the house I'm staying at is wild. My host Susan tells me that when she was growing up her, all her friends would use boats to get together, not streets. I guess everyone in the neighborhood has a boat dock, so.. that's just how they would get from house to house. The canal is also something of a winter residence to Manatees, a giant water mammal found only in Florida. These gentle vegetarians are endangered as they often get hit by boats. Today I had my first sighting of some moving about the canal.

house with a view
mysterious manatee

Sunday, November 16, 2008 - Tampa, FL
Today we played at a Unitarian church in Tampa.. twice! Our real show was in the afternoon, but they invited us to play a little music for their morning service as well. The building was a dome with a great choir loft/second story we could use as a green room. Last night we did a house concert in Clearwater hosted by Gary, a major guitar fan and his family. Gary owns 12 guitas (I think that's more than Bert and I put together!) and has some really nice pieces. He, his family and our friends Wayne and Mandy did a great job of spreading the word about the show to their friends and we had a very nice turnout. It's amazing what a difference perception can make. Just sixty people packed into a small living room makes for an incredibly energetic event!

Gary's guitars in Clearwater
Here come the people - Unitarian dome in Tampa

Friday November 14, 2008 - Jupiter, FL
Yesterday I flew into West Palm Beach Florida for an all Florida set of shows with Bert Lams. We'll be criss crossing the state playing in a wild assortment of venues ranging from living rooms to colleges, churches and a wine warehouse. Our first stop was in Jupiter Florida where we'll actually be doing several shows. Fighting a bit of a head cold, led to my ears being pretty stopped up after the flight. I felt like I couldn't quite hear things the way I usually like to, but we seemed to play pretty well regardless. I was a bit lazy (tired?) and didn't unpack my camera. Too bad. But, it was a great setting at a place called TSI or Transformational Studies Institute. Normally a pyschotherapy, lectures, and massage type facility, this was the first time they'd ever put on a live music event, but thanks to our friend Kevin who works with them, things were flawless. We also had an interesting happening in that Olivia Newton John and her new husband came to the show. Very nice folks! Olivia even suggested a name for a new untitled piece Bert and I have been playing recently, but I'll keep that secret.. we want to see what other people hear in it too!

November 7-9, 2008 - Las Vegas, NV
This weekend I was in Las Vegas as the musical guest of a fun group called the Jackstraws. These guys have got to be "the" hardest working musicians in San Diego. The band lineup is a collection of friends and changes with each show, but Loren, their fearless leader tells me they usually average 300-500 shows a year! Yikes! You can often find them playing at places like Sea World and the San Diego Zoo, but twice a year they also head out to Las Vegas for three days at an arts and crafts festival. This weekend they took m
e out with them to trade sets back and forth as it's an all day event. Fun! The nice part was too that we were done each day by 5pm so we had time to poke around old downtown Las Vegas too, checking out some of the sights including the light show and bands on Freemont St.

The inimitable Jackstraws in Vegas

Saturday October 25, 2008 - Encinitas, CA
Some exciting news coming up this fall. Bert Lams and I are putting together two tours, one in Florida that is almost complete and one now in December on the West Coast. Dates for Florida are up now on the schedules page.

The December tour will start off with a fantastic show opening for Tuck and Patti at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA. I love this group! Tuck is one of the most amazing fingerstyle guitar players on the planet and I think in a strange way one of the reasons I took up the Chapman Stick. I say it's strange because obviously he's not a Stick player. But.. what he does on guitar is similar ina way, as you usually feel like you're hearing several parts at once; bass lines, chords, even percussion. With no special effects or electronics, he sounds like a full band, all in support of his wife Patti who has an amazingly rich voice. I'm really looking forward to this show, and as always with Coach House shows, we've got discounted tickets we can pass along. Check out the store page for details!

Want more Tom stories and trivia? Check out the website archives for past tour diaries.

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