Cleveland, OH – “Lessons in Humility” – The Agora Ballroom – August 24 & 25, 1999

In a historic venue that fits 700, there were only 10 people at our show (3 of which were the opening band).

It was raining—Drizzle, drizzle, drizzle—all three days we had off in Cleveland. No one wanted to go outside so we instead, amused ourselves in the hotel. Brian and Kenny shared room #776 and both Chrises and myself took #772 with a foldaway. We watched mind-numbing movies, made phone calls, worked out, swam, did group facials, and made a ritual out of the Denny’s next door for dinner.

Kenny in room #776

The morning of the 24th was a Tuesday. I was having a bitch of a time uploading last week’s ‘Tales from the Road’ to the world wide web. For anyone interested in the process I get to go through to feed you these fascinating little gems of insight into our captivating lives on the road (insert note of sarcasm here) I’ll first tell you, it ain’t easy.

Uploading “Tales from the Road” from a Hotel Room:

  • First, I call down to reception to get the hotel’s www login credentials.
  • Next, I plug my trusty ethernet cable into the phone jack and boot up my operating system.
  • Next, I check my network settings to make sure they’re configured to obtain an IP address automatically.
  • Then I open an internet browser (I use one called Netscape Navigator) to test my connection. This rarely works on the first try. I’m usually, pulling my hair out, unplugging the ethernet cable, reassembling their phone line, and calling the front desk at least 4 times before I get my laptop to connect.
  • Once on Navigator, I log into my AOL account and diligently copy and paste each episode I’ve written into an email addressed to my webmaster, Dan Beach.

The whole process takes approximately 2 hours (if I’m successful in launching the browser in the first 4 tries and the service is fast enough for the email to go through). Then, I cross my fingers and hope to see my writings appear on in the coming days. Most of my writing is done in transit—in the van between gigs. Soucy, the educator he is, checks each entry for my inevitable spelling and grammatical mistakes. He’s so multifaceted. I don’t deserve him.

Our plan Tuesday was to hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, while there, have a ceremony where by Kenny would award our mascot “Skunk Buddy” to Brian for making last tour’s greatest faux pas. Brian won the honor of drinking the hot skunky beer when he ended a song 8 bars early the night we opened for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. In the decapitated silence that ensued after his error, I heard Brian whisper in back of me, “…I’m drinking Buddy.”

This particular Budweiser was going to be extra skunky. It spent not only the duration of our entire West Coast tour but most of our three-week break in Colorado, in a hot van in a hot cooler. I was sorry to miss the ritual but the guys could see (by the clumps of hair I was holding in my hands) that I was going to upload these gigs to the internet or die trying. They promised to video Brian’s reaction and left me in the dusk-blue floral-patterned room to my digital nightmare.

We loaded into the Agora at 6 PM and sound checked. The joint smelled of urine. Old, yellowed news articles were laminated on tables and walls. We went out to grab a bite. Waiting right outside the entrance were 7 people who were eagerly waiting for doors to open so they could get a good seat for our show. Little did we know they’d be the only people to come.

The streets were empty but for some rats pretending to be humans in trench coats and hunched shoulders. A pretty craked-up-looking guy approached just outside the venue. He told us he’d just been released from the penitentiary and tried to sell Soucy a brass ring he insisted was silver. Soucy did not buy the craked-up-looking guy’s “silver” ring.

Needless to say, the show was a bust. Kenny played his butt off though and we ended up chalking it up to good experience. The 7 people that were lined up early for the gig—already had our CD and sang along….which made us feel less terrible about playing to a hollow room, but also meant no CD sales after the gig. Dean, the owner, took pity on us and gave us the OK to abbreviate our second set.

I can’t pretend The Agora Show is worth the ethernet hassle of uploading. But I’ll do it anyway. No show is a bad show. They all contain lessons. The lesson from The Agora is undoubtedly about humility.

Reader interactions

4 Replies to “Cleveland, OH – “Lessons in Humility” – The Agora Ballroom – August 24 & 25, 1999”

  1. Really enjoying these Sally, now you can do it from your car

    1. I know. Isn’t it wild what we take for granted these days. Damn those ethernet cables of yesterday.

  2. Hey Sally,

    Enjoying these sometime sobering exploits from the road. I am impressed with your ability to weather and find lessons in the good and the bad. You can’t ask for better life lessons.

    Look forward to the next venue.

    1. Thanks Abby,
      Yeah, I got a college degree in road burns. The lessons I learned on the road gave me a grit that’s served me well since then.

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