WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28TH – NASHVILLE TO HOLLOMAN AB, NEW MEXICO:
Seems strange to be doing a “Road Report” for a performance in the USA. Cassadee Pope is performing on Thursday, June 29th at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. This is the “kick off” of their 4th of July weekend.
I met the group at the American Airlines check in at 2 pm. I am working with Don Muzquiz on this date. I’ve known Don since the mid-90’s when he worked with Jo Dee Messina. We stay in touch but haven’t worked together in a while. Such a pleasure to work with him again. One of the members of the group also worked with The Mavericks previously and one musician was in the group Scarletta. All really nice guys and Cassadee is a sweetheart.
No problems checking in and our flight departed on time. It was about a 2 hour flight to DFW and less than an hour layover there. When we got on the AirTran to go between terminals, I guess the lady standing next to me had been drinking excessively. She kept hitting me with a large handbag she was carrying and at one point, reached behind herself and grabbed the metal rods on the handle of my rolling bag. She was hanging onto the rods and almost falling over which meant I was being pulled along with her. I finally yanked it out of her hand and she never even acknowledged what she was doing. She staggered off one stop before we got off.
Flight to El Paso was also about 2 hours. Sara – our host – and Lindsey were waiting for us at baggage claim. I worked with Sara last year when she was in Misawa, Japan and brought over Sublime with Rome. However, I didn’t go on that trip. Penny covered it for me. She had two large “sprinter” type vans for our luggage and equipment. Only problem with those type of vehicles is the fact that there is no “back door”. The guys had to carry the heavy equipment into the van, between the seats and try to arrange it in the back so that it wouldn’t fly up and hit anyone on the drive. I usually try to make sure none of the luggage or equipment goes inside the vehicle with the passengers because it is definitely a safety issue.
We stopped at “L&J” Café (recommended by some of Don’s friends) and had a great Mexican meal. Then it was about a 2 hour drive from El Paso to Holloman. Everyone was dead tired by the time we got into our rooms. Lodging is great! Nice big rooms. Only problem is the air conditioning. There are thermostats but they are useless. I guess the temperature is controlled by a front office somewhere. The major surprise was opening the refrigerator and there was no water. Remember, it’s really, really hot here at this time of the year. I wish I had thought to stop and buy water for everyone because there’s no “lobby” where anyone could help us. We just had to wait until the next morning.
Best thing about the rooms is the Wi-Fi….it’s slamming!
THURSDAY, JUNE 29TH – PERFORMANCE AT HOLLOMAN AB, NEW MEXICO:
I was up at 6 am to try and answer all the emails I didn’t answer last night. We met for breakfast at 9 am and it is solo hot! The one place on base that has “breakfast” food other than McDonald’s is the Bowling Center. But, when we walked in, the owner said they were closed because their air conditioning was being worked on and their grill fans were off! We left to go to McDonald’s but I noticed that the workmen had just loaded their ladder onto their truck and were leaving. Lindsey went back inside and confirmed that they had finished and we could eat there!
Sound check was next and it went quicker than I anticipated. Hopefully we’ll have a huge crowd tonight so the base will get approval to do more events!
We had lunch at Oasis after sound check and several people went to the nice pool that is on base. I worked and worked and worked! We learned that there wouldn’t be anywhere open on base to buy a “hot meal” for dinner, so I called in an order to Buffalo Wild Wings which is about 10 minutes from the base. A “runner” was going to pick this up at 8:15 pm.
We arrived at the show site at around 6:30 pm and it was still brutally hot. Most of the crowd were sitting on the edges of the field, out of the sun! Cassadee had a short “VIP Meet and Greet” with some of the leadership as well as festival staff. She took the stage at 7:30 pm and performed for 75 minutes – an incredible show. She’s a great entertainer and has a really tight band. The fans began moving to the front of the stage as the sun went down and the temperature dropped. It was really a great show and a fantastic audience.
We had checked out of lodging before we left for the show so we can get started on the 2 hour drive to the Hilton in El Paso as quickly as possible after the show. Unfortunately, when the runner picked up the order from Buffalo Wild Wings, they did not give him everything. We were missing 3 of the meals – mine, Don’s and John’s. So we were going to have to detour though the town.
Leadership did not want Sara and Lindsey to drive us back to El Paso because they had gotten up really early to work on the festival and it would be a 4 hour roundtrip drive for them. They were able to secure 2 young airmen and Doug (who was a tremendous help today!) to drive us. Cassadee and her musicians all got in one van so I hopped in the other one so that driver would have “someone” to talk too! When I got in there was a loud buzzer going off and no one could figure out where it was coming from. We tried everything but could not get it to turn off! We spend at least 15 minutes trying but finally had to move all the equipment to a different van. By the time we finally arrived at Buffalo Wild Wings, the 3 meals were very cold. ☹
It was after midnight when we arrived at the Hilton in El Paso and lobby call was set for 6:45 am. It was a really nice hotel – always is when we’re only going to be there for a few hours.
FRIDAY, JUNE 30TH – EL PASO TO NASHVILLE:
I got up early and took Uber to the airport so I could “shop” for a few minutes. Have to take Zac and Zoe “something”! Don had ordered an additional van to help with the group and their luggage in addition to the hotel shuttle. They arrived for the gate area about 30 minutes before their flight was scheduled to board. It was really great working with Cassadee and her musicians and especially with Don again. Sara, Lindsey, Doug and all the team of workers at Holloman AB were amazing! Hope we can do more in the future!
My flight from El Paso to DFW was on a small jet and my carry on wouldn’t fit in the overhead. I had to gate check it. The WiFi would not connect on the 2 hour flight, so I didn’t get any work done. When we landed DFW, I had to wait in the jetway for my carry-on bag and it took about 20 minutes for them to get it to me. Had to run to the AirTran to get to another terminal for my flight. We started boarding almost as soon as I arrived. Fortunately, the WiFi did work on that flight and I was able to get in a couple of hours work. We landed Nashville on time!
Happy 4th of July Weekend!