November 11, 2021
The Des Plaines Theater
Des Plaines, Illinois
Check out the TOUR page for all venue and ticket information for upcoming dates.
When I awoke this morning and walked outside, it was cold and raining. I was the first of the band who was up, so I would have the luxury of scoping out the dressing room situation all alone. I do not sleep well on the bus, even though, for the most part, I enjoy the overall touring experience. Once in a blue moon, there will be a comfortable couch in my dressing room on which I can catch a quick nap, but generally not. Luckily, although they were in a different building than the stage, the dressing rooms were only a stone's throw from the bus, which was about the same distance from the dressing room door to the backstage door. The Des Plaines Theater is a very new venue, nine days old to be exact, so we have not played here before. We are only the 9th act, but they already have a stellar lineup of artists who have come in with a great lineup already booked for the months ahead. We were all excited and curious about this venue because it is the sister venue to the famed Arcada Theater in St. Charles, Illinois. So we knew come what may, we would most likely have a great time.
Upon entering the dressing room area, I noticed it was clean and new. It was, in a way, laid out like an old 1950's malt shop. Red and White cushioned covered tables accompanied nice Formica tables, and there are even a couple of cool booths with red leather, the kind you might have found inside a 1957 Chevy. With hot coffee and breakfast snacks laid out, I felt we were off to a good start.
My dressing room was tiny but comfortable, with three plush chairs, any of which were nap-worthy (I did not get one). By this point of the tour, we all have our routines down and get things moving rather quickly. Upon securing my dressing room, the first thing I do is to pull out my laptop, notebook, pen, paper pad, and Ipad. I then pull out my cosmetics, tidy up a bit, and see if the wardrobe suitcases have been unloaded from the trailer. I then locate my garment bag, take out both wardrobes, examine them and hang them up. Occasionally, my act 2 outfit will need steaming, so I always make sure a steamer is on location for me to use later in the day.
I feel the need to add here that there is one significant difference for me on this tour than on all previous tours I have done with ABBA MANIA. It is the sad fact that I have spent almost all of my time in my dressing room when I am not at soundcheck or eating. A large part of this is due to my decision to write these tour blogs. While I enjoy writing them, they take up a lot more of my time than I had initially thought they would. Add the A1A and other business and other increasing responsibilities that need to be tended to back home, and I am already behind before my day starts. Not to mention all we have to do to get ready for the show daily. In tours gone by, it has always been my main priority to spend as much time as I possibly can outside walking around, getting some exercise, and taking advantage of the fact that I get to travel to so many different towns. If I continue these blogs on my next tour, I will have to find a way to get more of that in. It is personal time for me which I desperately need out here to stay focused, healthy and balanced. Something which is already very difficult for me as it is. But alas, I did indeed once again spend the day in my dressing room when not in soundcheck. Which by now is not taking a long time at all once Sean and Andrew have everything set and ready to roll.
Everyone at the venue was very kind, as expected. They fed us well, and yes, there were also tons of sweets that I was able to avoid. We all took our time eating, and before we knew it, showtime was upon us. There was a big buzz about our performance tonight, and upon entering the backstage area, we could feel the excitement. The first set was very well received, and we kicked it hard. The stage looked great, and I especially liked the huge LED screen on the back wall. Todd wanted the main four of us to shoot a couple of quick promotional videos for upcoming tours before our second set, so we managed to get those in before we rushed out for set two.
As I have mentioned before, another enjoyable aspect of touring for me is that I can see many friends and fans I have made over the years through A1A. Many who are spread out all over the country. Tonight I was excited for my good friend Susan Hart. I have known Susan going on close to 25 years, I believe, and she never misses a show when I am near her, whether it is A1A or ABBA MANIA. I always spend some time with her before and after the show, and I look forward to it every year. Thank you again, Susan, for coming to the show! xoxo
Once Susan left, it was back to my routine. Pack my clothes up as quickly as possible, head out to the bus sprinting past the aftershow food and crawl directly into my bunk. Bedtime for Bonzo Benny. Lights out. Another night of disco madness behind me.