In the afternoon I could feel myself getting a little tired, so I took it especially easy, stopping whenever I needed to. In the car I listened to the audio book on CD of Belinda Carlisle's autobiography Lips Unsealed. I had heard that the Go-Go's were influenced by punk (I was totally unfamiliar with punk when I first heard the Go-Go's, I just assumed they were considered an 80's pop/rock group), but I had no idea the extent. Carlisle's earliest influence turns out to be the Raw Power record by Iggy & The Stooges, and she was the original drummer for the legendary LA punk band The Germs. The Germs featured Pat Smear, evidently a close friend of Carlisle's, on guitar. Smear went on to become the fourth member of Nirvana on the In Utero tour.
Some time into the drive into North Dakota, I had to switch off the audiobook, because the beauty of the day and all the natural wonders around me were too breathtaking to take for granted. Lush green fields and leafy trees; long, sloping hills; and beautiful, glistening blue ponds and streams were everywhere around me as I continued on I-94 West. As I was powering down, the natural beauty really helped keep me focused.
I rolled into Bismarck around 7:30pm, checked into the Days Inn (my room had its own jacuzzi!), freshened up, and headed to Mr. Delicious Cafe. This is a cozy, cool, charming coffee bar/regular bar with a great indoor cafe and a huge, gorgeous outdoor patio, situated beneath a splendid array of trees and shrubs. They have an open mic every Thursday night, so I got there for the start at 9pm and signed myself up.
This could not have been a more beautiful evening. It was perfect weather, nice and warm with a gentle cool breeze. The performers played at one end of the outdoor patio (opposite the street-side) with a rustic wooden fence and pretty greenery behind us. It was the brink of dusk for the first performer, and the sun set from the start of the show until just before I went on. Despite there being many performers there, the organizers generously allowed me to play 4 songs. I felt I played and sang well, and the sound system seemed fantastic to me. I already feel like the enjoyable regimen of playing every night or every other night is working changes in me, making me a better singer and performer, and allowing me to open up to more connection with my audiences.
There were a lot of people there for the whole night, and everyone was extremely supportive and appreciative. I want to especially thank Mr Delicious Cafe for hosting such a wonderful event every week, Justin the emcee for being so gracious and welcoming, and a bunch of new fans and friends - the trio of Tom, Jim, and the third gentleman whose name has sadly slipped my mind (my apologies!), for their good humor and conversation; Krista, Jenna and Steve for their agreeing to take some photos for me (I handed the camera at first to Krista, but I think Jenna took the photo above, as well as some other great shots?) and talking to me afterwards;and Brandon, for seeking me out and saying such complimentary things about my set.
A little after 11pm, I headed back to the hotel for some much-needed rest. This morning coming back from breakfast, I was delighted to see a little rabbit hopping amidst the bushes. I got a nice, relaxing time in my in-room jacuzzi, and am now just about ready to head west to Montana, a state I've always wanted to see. SO excited!
The short set I played last night:
1. Home of Love
3. Alien Homeland
4. Beautiful Wanderer