Dan Fogelberg Tour 2003 Road
by Michael Botts
Part 30 – THE BAND WITH ONE BRAIN
After the show we did at Humphrey's, I figured we were ready to knock the socks off of the Fogelberg fans in L.A. And I was right! We had now become "The Band With One Brain," a formidable musical monster. We had achieved that rare level of polish and professionalism that we all strived for as a musical ensemble. We were thinking and playing like one fluid, intuitive musical entity. We were... a BAND!
Of course, the leader of the band had provided us with brilliantly written songs in every style and genre, and these would become the foundation of our musical flights. They are the kind of songs that require the best from each of us as artists, collectively and individually. This became our new syntax in the abstract language we call music.
Dan's voice was stronger and more confident than ever, Jim Photoglo's clear, pure tenor provided those beautiful high harmonies and Robert McEntee added his voice as a perfect blending third harmony to kind of glue it all together. And by this time their phrasing was so close to perfect that they sounded like one singer with three voices. Believe me, even Crosby, Stills and Nash would have been green with envy.
And talk about synergy, we were making some mighty sounds for a band of just five musicians. Photoglo's bass playing was as solid as a rock even though he had to devote the other half of his brain to singing background parts at the same time. McEntee also had to divide his brain cells but in addition to singing and playing guitar, he also, at various times in the show, had to do some keyboard work on the synth. His slide guitar solos on "Crow" were particularly outstanding and getting finer with every performance. Then there was the inimitable Zoot, shades on, grinning from ear to ear and doing that "Zoot dance" that he does while he's wailing away on all the keyboard parts. He's as much fun to watch on stage as he is to listen to. And of course "Dan the man" was up front, burnin' on every instrument he could get his hands on except for bass and drums. I expected him to play great guitar and piano but I'm always blown away at how he can go seamlessly from electric guitar to piano to acoustic guitar and then back again. And while he's doing all that he's singing his ass off as well.
You can imagine what a treat it is for me to sit up on that drum riser and drive a band like that night after night. With such an abundance of great Fogelberg songs as the foundation, coupled with the outstanding musicianship of each member of the band, my job was an absolute pleasure. Every performance was another opportunity to get closer to perfection. You certainly don't get bored in a situation like that; you get inspired to better your performance with each show.
Our concert in L.A. was another one of those inspired nights with high energy, intense focus and a damn near flawless performance by Mr. Fogelberg and company. And the California crowd of Dan fans were enthusiastically showing their approval and appreciation. Of course, I was particularly pleased with our performance since my wife, as well as quite a few friends and relatives, were in attendance. After all, you don't want to fumble the ball in front of the hometown fans.
After the show, there was a huge meet and greet session backstage that probably lasted for a little over an hour. Lots of fun, food and chatter. It was great to see family and friends even if we did have to cut it short. You see, we had another one of those long, long, "mother of all drives" ahead of us, from L.A. all the way to Denver! So once again, I was reluctantly saying good-bye to my wife and then boarding the land yacht again for our next musical mission of the tour....again!
Our California adventure had been fun but now it was time for another post-show departure and another midnight run. And as we rolled out of the parking lot, I noticed Zoot was already breaking out his big blue Martini glass and reminding us that it was time to unwind from the evening's concert and prepare for the long road ahead. Yes indeed, it was Happy Hour at the 'Land Yacht Bar & Grill,' time for me to snuggle into The Chair while enjoying a flat meat sandwich and a tall Gin & Tonic.