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YES I SAID AAAAREEEEEENAAAAAAA!!!
Wow, it's been a long time kiddies... I'm not sure I can accurately recount this trip without some major brain strain or trauma... oh yeah! AAAAREEEEEENAAAAAA!!! The David S. Palmer Arena to be more specific, in Danville, Illinois (say - ILL-ANNOY - not "Noise" although who am I to tell you what to do, right? I don't want anyone to go NUKE-YEE-LUR on me). The David S. Palmer Arena, named after... anyone, anyone??? Huh, huh? THAT'S RIGHT - David S. Palmer - who was in fact the Mayor of this fine city from 1975 all the way up until 1985 where he was impeached for improper use of hand gestures at a Bris (just kidding, he was a fine upstanding pillar of the community who had an AAAAREEEENAAAA named after him for God's sake).
As I said, it has been over a month and my memories are a bit cloudy although I do distinctly remember how friggin' cold it was - I woke up day of show, no not from a coma or religious trip but from a lovely nights rest, to go forage for food - something we do when the hotel restaurant sucks. I walked at least a mile over a bridge which spanned a freezing river, while Diesel puking Semis barreled past me kicking up all kinds of roadside debris, including but not limited to... old fast food wrappers, discarded and smashed energy drink bottles, I think I even saw a dirty diaper or two whirl around in the gusting after draft. As I walked with the determinant stride of the Terminator towards the Arby's sign yet all too far ahead, I had fleeting thoughts of being thrown over the low profile railing that remained all that was separating me from hypothermia (and a warm meal of Beef-like sandwich filling).
I made it to Arby's and as my band-mates can attest, ate twice the amount of any normal human (food that is, not human's... don't be insane?!) before returning once again on the treacherous path back to the hotel - after all who's to say when the next opportunity to eat might be - at least that's how I live MY life.
Something else peculiar worth noting (something ELSE? where'd THAT come from???) is that while on my way to Arby's I passed McDonald's and to my incredulous dismay saw something uncharacteristically McDonald's embossed across the entire front window. NO, it WASN'T Ronald, Grimace, The Ham-burglar, or any of the other usual suspects that frequent our favorite family fast food franchise (or, F.F.F.F.F. - "just for you Robert" - He has a strange affectation for acronyms? go figure). It was an otherworldly combination of "local heroes" by the likes of which I would have never thought possible could all come from the same breeding ground - no not McDonald's but Danville, YES, DANVILLE, ILLANNOY (NOT NOISE!). Since you're all waiting with great anticipation I'll tell you. Not only did I see a larger than life-sized photo of Dick Van Dyke, but his brother, Jerry too, and not only that but standing right next to the Van Dyke brothers was Gene Hackman (I KNOW!!!)
of course he starred in Hoosiers but who would have thought, right! AND that wasn't all, next to the three of them was also Donald O'Connor "film star and dancer" (Singing in the Rain AND Out To Sea). In addition to the already stellar line-up gracing the McDonald's window was Philadelphia Phillies, MLB player, Jason Anderson.... and then some Astronaut, I didn't recognize or find on Wikipedia. Another notable (as they say) from Danville is Jared Yates (c'mon, you know... 2005 American Idol top 12 guys runner-up/Entertainer/Recording Artist/???).
You know what, I just realized something... my wife is having a hard time getting the grill to light while I sit here and type away, so... I think she just burned her eyebrows off, I heard a loud "Pfoooommmmfff" and saw an ashy flash out of the corner of my eye and through the window to my left, the accompanying stifled yelp leads me to believe my suspicions might be correct so I'm kinda gonna have to go now - but let's do this again sometime real soon, okay?
What the hell, she can wait a moment while I wrap this up proper - The show was awesome, the crowd was nothing short of spectacular (love the mid-west, being from Ohio myself) or at least I remember it that way! Uh-oh, that stifled yelp I heard has now progressed to a moan-full whimper - I'd really better go and extinguish my wife's eyebrows now. Bon-Apetit!