Bert Lams and Tom Griesgraber Tour
February 2008, Florida

Sunday February 17, 2008 - Jacksonville airport
I'm waiting in the airport now for the trip home. Bert had a very early flight, so Carrie took him to the airport and then we found a place to ship the heaviest gear home. I now have a a nice long wait till flight time.

Last night we had our final show at a place called Wine Warehouse in Jacksonville. Our friends Nelson, Maryanne and Bill are friends with the owner and they went in ahead of time to transform what was basically a dirty warehouse into a cozy music venue. It was a great setting complete with lots of snacks, wine samples and pizza courtesey of the restaurant next door.

Final night at Wine Warehouse

With the help of two small LED pocket lights Bert and I turned an out of service bathroom (with no working light) into our green room. It was a bit eerie, but I had fun trying to catch the silouhettes.

warming up in the green room (or is that the dark room?)
(compare to seating arrangement for show #1)

self portrait

lunch courtesy of Maryanne

Friday February 15, 2008 - St Augustine, FL
Last night we did a very intimate concert for our friend Tiffany and her guests. The group was small but there was no lack of enthusiasm.. or fondue and chocolate from her chocolate fountain! Several of her friends were artists and/or musicians themselves and I had fun chatting with them about the "artistic experience" afterwards.

Today, with only about a 1.5 hour drive, we had time to play tourists. Bert, Carrie and I drove to St Augustine early and explored the old city and then a nearby lighthouse.

Playing tourists at the fort at St Augustine
Ready to climb the fortress walls

Our show was held in the home of Nelson and Maryanne's friend Patrick. He apparently jumped at the chance of doing it and managed to fill up the available seats in record time. His wife and family did a great job of making us and all the guests feel welcome. The sound in the room was great, and we had the unusual setting of having audience members on multiple levels.

The stage is set in St Augustine

multi-level audients in St Augustine

Thursday February 14, 2008 - I 95 North to Jacksonville, FL
....and back north we go. We had a great show last night in Jupiter, FL with a very appreciative and attentive audience at the community center for the neighborhood of Bert's in-laws. Amy, the director made a real event out of it for them, with cookies, wine, candy and lemonade (lemonade distribution support was provided by Verlin at the last minute). There were a lot of laughs, some audible "wows" during pieces and mostly right notes. Bert's wife Carrie is down from Pennsylvania and is joining us for the rest of the tour so.. we now have an offical merch person!

tuning in Jupiter's kitchen

dualing intros

Wednesday February 13, 2008 - I 95 South towards Jupiter, FL
Today we are driving south about 4.5 hours to Jupiter Florida, near West Palm Beach. Tomorrow we'll actually reverse today's route and head back to Jacksonville. It's raining some but not too bad. Originally the organizer for tonight's show had wanted us to play outdoors. We talked her into having it indoors largely for sound reasons, but now it looks like we may have made the right call for weather's sake as well. No sign of any twisters yet though!

Tuesday February 12, 2008 - Jacksonville, FL
The adventures continue! While setting up for the concert tonight, we learned that a tornado advisory was in effect for the area! Well.. no tornado came, but there was plenty of rain, thunder and lightning. It seems to have scared off most of the people who planned to attend tonight but a small brave group still made it. We started much later than advertised and spent a bit of time on the front porch watching the weather and waiting to see who might make it. The show actually turned out to be quite nice. As we were getting started, I had the feeling we should do something a bit more "spacey" to start off.. it just seemed to feel right with the rain pounding outside. I never communicated the idea to Bert, but we started right into an improv and he led off with one of his "spacey" sounds. Perfect! I really enjoyed playing pieces where I could stretch the pauses out tonight as well and listen to the rain in-between the notes.

Our hip & funky Jacksonville stage
Watching for twisters on the front porch

front porch camera fun (no flash)
front porch camera fun (with flash)

Greg and Carmen (our Jacksonville hosts) in addition to being avid movie experts are also real animal lovers and have taken in a total of seven cats, a dog and I think two birds. The animals all live up stairs, but don't all get along so they have separate rooms. One room is dedicated to six of the cats who all come from the same litter. It is a bit of a surreal sight to look into a room and see twelve green eyes staring at you from a bed. I tried to catch them on camera but only got five of the six before some came to say hello in person.
five of six
inside the cat condo

Monday February 11, 2008 - Jacksonville, FL
Bert and I are now three days into our tour of Florida. Things have gotten off to a great start and as always when we play mostly house concerts, we've been welcomed right into the heart of our hosts' homes and get to experience a snippet of their day to day lives in the process. Moving from one house to the next and getting a sense of how different people approach life can be a fascinating experience.

Yesterday we drove to an area near Orlando where Kurt, a music business major at Full Sail organized a house concert with his family. I had a great time with all of them and felt welcomed right into the family. Kurt's fiancee is from the San Diego area and the two of them once saw CGT, Jerry Marotta and myself perform there. Now, on the opposite side of the continent, they put this show together along with Kurt's mother Pam and his sister Stacy. Kurt went to great lengths promoting it, even going so far as to invite friends over ahead of time to make them listen to our music so they would get excited about the show! This morning on a day off, Bert, Stacy and I went to a Bikram (105 degree temp) Yoga class. Bert is a regular practicioner, Stacy had never been and I haven't been in probably a few years. Bert looked like a pro.. Stacy and I cheerfully survived the 90 minutes of poses in the heat.

Bert plays serious music in Ovideo, FL
photo stolen from Bert's diary (and taken by Annie if I remember right)
Kurt, Bert, Stacy, Stick guy
photo stolen from Bert's diary (and taken by Annie if I remember right)

After lunch, we drove about two hours to Jacksonville and the home of Greg and Carmen, two friends of Bert's for many years. Tonight we went out for dinner with them and then came back to watch a movie called "Pan's Labyrinth". Greg is a major movie buff and seems quite capable of drawing movie references out of almost any situation. It's fascinating, though I have to admit I quite often have no idea what he's talking about ;-) I was amazed over dinner when I brought up the movie "Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown" and he hadn't heard of it. Score one for the music geek...


towards Orlando

Saturday February 9, 2008 - Clearwater, FL
Today we drove about four hours to Clearwater, FL where our friends Wayne and Mandy hosted us and organized a concert in their son's school. It's amazing how paths cross and reconnect with a tour like this. We've been running into many people like Wayne and Mandy who perhaps saw the CGT years ago, and a good number who in one way or another saw me someplace else, often even in San Diego. After the show on Saturday, we went back to their house and got to watch a bit of the independent films they've made in the past, one of which revolved around Shakespere and included some CGT music.

string change in Clear Water
the view in Clearwater

Friday February 8, 2008 - West Palm Beach, FL
Yesterday I flew to West Palm Beach from San Diego to start a ten day tour with my good friend Bert Lams. Bert beat me there (from Pennsylvania) by a few hours and picked me up at the airport with his father in law Verlin. We spent the night with them and this morning conquered the task of assembling all the gear and rehearsing some of the trickier duo pieces. Bert's in-laws did a fantastic job organizing a concert for us in their church which was quite large. The church has a very active music ministry, complete with rehearsal space, music director, sound technician and Verlin, who seems to help out by recording their events and editing together CDs from them. We had a very nice turnout and a great experience and I'm looking forward to heading back there next week!

one of our West Palm Beach promoters
opening night stage in West Palm Beach

Bert's performance was rooted in scripture
(or seated on it at least)

...and from the stage (Friday in West Palm Beach)

Sunday November 11, 2007 - Encinitas, CA
Flew home a few nights ago after spending a week in Portland where my friend Howard Givens and I were working on mixes for an upcoming special edition re-release of the first Agent 22 CD. It's a little scary to think about, but it's been about nine years now since we recorded it! Simply put, many of the audio tools that are available to us today are just much better than what I had at least back in 1999 so we're giving things a nice sonic "windshield washing" and are also adding four previously unreleased Agent 22 tracks to the disc as well. I use the term "windshield washing" because that's the best visual analogy to what we're doing that I've come up with. Imagine looking at a great view out of a dirty window. It's still a great view, but.. wash the window and you suddenly feel like you're much more a part of what you're seeing. That's really how I feel listening to the new mixes. Everything is just a bit more real, colorful and transparent. Plus I'm quite happy to be adding some tracks we recorded around 2001 that have never been released before. This adds over 17 minutes of new music to the disc and features some great group moments. The new edition should be out sometime in the spring.

mixing "Agent 22" in Portland
more mixing in Portland

testing mixes at a high end stereo store

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

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