November 10, 2021
The Blue Gate Performing Arts Center
Despite the fatigue of the past couple of days of unexpected bus time, the extreme comfort of my cozy hotel bed, and many pillows, I still did not sleep very well. I knew I had a lot of work to do online, so I was up by about 4:00 am, nothing unusual. It was a gorgeous day, and the rest of the band walked about the lovely little town of Shipshewana and got in as much 'day off' time as possible. I was very tempted to go, but I had too much work to get done, so regretfully I remained held up in my hotel room glued to my laptop.
When I checked out at 11:00 am, I walked directly next door to the venue, which is just as beautiful as the hotel we stayed at but a lot bigger. One of the gentlemen who worked there gave me a brief tour and was very kind. After checking out the stage and taking a quick brisk walk outside, I located my dressing room and proceeded to set up my daily office before getting my wardrobe together and ready for the show.
The day went fast, and the sound-check went well. Steve Harvey from Clearwing made a surprise appearance to help Andrew and Sean work out some bugs in the system, so it was very good to see him. He also stayed for the show, so that was another unexpected pleasure for us.
After sound-check, dinner was served, and I believe this particular dinner will go down in Abba Mania history as the most incredible meal we have ever had on tour. At least that was the unrivaled opinion of Chris Blackwell, and he has experienced enough of them to be an uncontested expert on the subject. I believe if you had given him a choice between a winning lottery ticket and tonight's dinner, he would have taken the dinner. I am doing my damndest not to eat a lot out here, but I did try the meatloaf, and holy Mother of God, it was indeed the best meatloaf I have ever had. With all of the divine praise bestowed upon our food and the amazing 'Chef Jeff' who prepared it for us, I found it quite difficult to push myself away from the table. I am sure we all did, for when showtime was upon us, we were all still relatively stuffed.
The hall was beautiful, and as usual, Andrew and Sean had the stage looking like a million dollars. The show was not quite sold out, but it was close. I think the only drag was that most of the audience members were much older than we usually get. That is not a problem, per se, but after a big meal, we found it a little challenging to summon more energy to get them moving and ready to be dancing kings and queens. But when we did, everything went great.
Of course, there was good food provided after the gig, but by the grace of God, I was able to avoid it. By now, the habit of changing clothes and going directly to my bunk has, for the most part, helped me avoid the after-show munchies. So, friends, in closing, I have to say that if you ever have the opportunity to spend a day or two in Shipshewana, Indiana, I highly recommend it. I certainly hope we can return. Lights out. Bedtime for Benny.