Chapter 19 - BEALE STREET TO BILOXI
long drive from Chicago to Memphis was only the halfway point
in a very long journey. We still had another long drive all
the way down to Biloxi, Mississippi for our next show. We
had a great day off in Memphis but now it was time to leave
the ducks, the barbecue and Beale Street behind and start
driving through the heart of blues country. We had a concert
that night and even with an early departure we would probably
arrive just a few hours before show time.
was once again at my post in the front of the bus, comfortably
strapped into The Chair, and I was soon enjoying
an armchair view of the great Mississippi delta while sipping
on some brutally strong coffee, which had been brewed up by
Zoot prior to our departure. We left the home of Elvis, Sun
records and Stax/Volt, which produced some of the greatest
Rhythm & Blues ever recorded, and headed south, down to
the roots of it all, down through Blues country. I was now
ready for a private bus tour through the undisputed home of
the great delta blues men like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.
It would be rural two lane blacktop almost all the way to
Biloxi but I didn't mind. This was a great way to see where
it all got started.
were playing at the Beau Rivage, a kind of transplanted Vegas
style casino on a stretch of prime beach front property. It's
a beautiful place but it's not what you'd expect to find in
a place like Biloxi, Mississippi. In most respects it was
not much different from any other casino, once you were inside.
The typical casino chaos of patrons and staff, the din of
ringing slot machine bells and flashing lights announcing
another jackpot, was not really much different from the Trump
Plaza in Atlantic City. Still, the stage and show room at
the Beau Rivage were a vast improvement over the rickety rotating
stage we were on in Buffalo, much better catering than Buffalo
too. But that's another story.
night, the shows were getting better and our show at the Beau
Rivage was no exception. We were comfortable with the pacing,
the tempos had all settled down, we were rhythmically tighter,
Zoot's keyboard solos and Dan and Robert's guitar solos were
pushing the edge and getting more creative with every performance.
Robert's solo on "Crow," in particular, was getting
an ovation from the audience every night. Dan's vocal chops
were getting stronger and the vocals in general were absolutely
killer. I gotta tell ya! I was really proud to be sitting
behind my tubs and driving a band like this. It makes being
on the road and dealing with Roadzilla more than worth it.
seems like once the old "21 day theory" kicks in
and you discard all the things you no longer need on the road,
your focus on the music gets more intense. This was it, this
was our lives for the time being and it all revolved around
the music! And when the music reaches this level, you're more
than willing to put up with life on the road. Dan says it
best in a lyric phrase from one of his songs; "The audience
is heavenly but the traveling is hell". Well, you forget
all about the traveling every time you hit the stage.