Every tour has its stupid nickname. I remember the "Respect Your Opinion Tour" of aught six, where us four Birdmonsters resolved to stop bickering over the merits of Don Henley's catalogue, the proper Waffle House ordering strategy, or the intrinsic value of Street Fighter The Movie. Other tours have been defined by exploding transmissions (the "Arizona Hates Our Face Tour") or novel experiences (the "Baby's First Tour; Hello Both of You"). This time around? It's the "'San Francisco' is Code For Gay Tour."
I've always known that, on a certain level, a lot of folks not from the Bay consider San Francisco some sort of gay Mecca. After all, we had Harvey Milk, Castro Street, some of the first gay pride parades, and a mayor who, in his typical "screw it, let's roll" style, legalized gay marriage for all of a half week until the courts reminded him that you can't just do whatever the hell you want whenever the hell you want to. (Less than a year later, Newsom would make the same sort of move again, announcing free internet for everyone without much thought to, well, how that would actually happen. Often overlooked is the "We're going to Jupiter. What the hell you gonna do about it?" press conference of 2005, but, really: probably drunk). Anyway, the odd thing is that this tour, seemingly every time we mention our home town, we're treated as if we just said "We're from Gayland." Sometimes, this exposes some sad prejudices. Sometimes, it allows closeted Southerners to hit on you on the sly. Sometimes, just hearing you're from San Francisco gives the guy you're talking to license to begin lisping and ask if you want to do some "yach" while he tells you he's a "jungle-ist" and not a "boche-boy" and you're left wondering if he's speaking English or was recently concussed. The point is, being from San Francisco doesn't mean that you're gay; it just means that you don't care if someone else is. Ess Eff always seems to have this laisez faire, "you do your thing, I'll do mine" attitude that is somehow different than the typical big city "you do your thing, I'll do mine, just get out of my goddamn way" sort of attitude. Hard to explain, really, but I'm trying. It's also the nucleus around which all jungle-ist boche-boys yach it up, but, well, that goes without saying.
Anyway, I miss home. We're on the 11 hour drives portion of the tour and the long trundles westward always make me a little antsy. Conveniently, we're back in three days, so I don't have to pine for my own bed for more than three nights. Wondrous stuff, that. Right now we're in Denver, where it snowed yesterday and I got far too excited about it. Denver always treats us right, too: the crowds, while smaller than most places, are loud and attentive, the altitude lets a man drink cheap, and Dave & I have an old friend here (not geriatric old, but since-we-was-knee-high-to-a-grasshopper old) who lets us invade his house, shows us around, and, well, it's just a bonus of every tour to be able to see your scattered acquantances and he happens to be a favorite. Plus: played this show with my old black bass, the instrument equivalent of a battered, neglected wife and she performed magnificently, despite months of neglect, rusty strings, and the fact I forgot to get her flowers on our anniversary.
We also revisited Lawrence, Kansas this time around, a show that was memorable if only for the complete lack of humanity and the one dollar shots. It was like practice, except there was a bartender watching and a couple off to the side talking over the quiet parts. In other words: success, thy name is Lawrence.
This is the time when I sheepishly check my bank account, realize I'm slightly less destitute than previously feared, then subsequently realize we're going to Vegas and then entertain fantasies of all-night craps streaks that pay for my unborn children's college education, only to have the reality be far more depressing. Odds are I lose ten five dollar blackjack hands in a row and start whining like a scolded puppy.
Alright: the rest of the Birdmonsters are waking up and we've got a long drive through roads possibly covered in ice and snow, so I'm going to throw this thing up and get packing. Until soon, perhaps home, perhaps from the mansion I buy after hitting an eight million dollar slot jackpot: au revior.