Another Sunday in a deserted city. The Fitzgerald Theater sits in the heart of downtown Saint Paul not far from the capitol building and everything around is closed. Even the venerable Mickey’s Diner open 24/7 since 1937 is shut. There are a lot of churches—God seems to beget factions. A giant building across from the Fitzgerald advertises that the Scientologists have invested heavily here, presumably in an attempt to help the people of Saint Paul get over their schisms about conceptions of God and unite behind belief in the Truth of a third rate space opera written in the 1950’s by a fourth rate pulp fiction writer turned con man, now peddled by two contemporary con men, Tom Cruise and David Miscavige. As Andy once memorably proclaimed, in the land of no brain the man with half a brain is king.
But none of this should be taken as a slight on the people of the Twin Cities. The Fine Line was the first venue we ever sold out in the US and every show we have ever played here has been memorable; 7th Street Entry, First Avenue, the Orpheum. (Not forgetting a bizarre evening at the Target Center with Oasis and The Meat Puppets, although that is memorable for different reasons.)
Our night in The Fitzgerald adds another to that list of unforgettable shows. This was one of the the warmest and most welcoming audiences we have played to anywhere in the world. The elation shared in the theater during the show becomes even more poignant as we sit post-Covid alone backstage in the Fitzgerald. There is nothing for it but to load the bus with guitars amps and beer and set of for Chicago. Someone scrolls through the satellite channels and starts watching Scream. The mood in the bus slowly sinks into torpor and thoughts drift to the hospitality of old friends glimpsed through the lights tonight and memories many great nights spent in the Twin Cities after shows. Better times, and another tour beckons next summer: We’ll tak that cup o’ kindness yet.