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We spent the night in Tucson, because why not, it's a whole five degrees cooler than Phoenix :P

In the morning we decided to drive the two hours to Phoenix and eat lunch, then check to see if the train was spotted so we could drop off our luggage before heading to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). For once our timing was pretty good; the train arrive just as we were finishing lunch at Zookz Sandwiches. They make a unique toasted "pocket"-style sandwich stuffed with all kinds of goodies! Jameson had the No. 45, fresh mozzarella, tomato, mixed greens and a honey Baslamic dressing. I had the No. 30, thin sliced ham with apricot preserves, Brie cheese and almonds. For dessert we split a Coco Loco, a sandwich pocket filled with melted chocolate, coconut, almonds, and rice crispies. If you are ever in Phoenix looking for a quick but healthy and incredibly tasty meal, this is the place!

We dropped our things off at the train, the Jameson drove us to the MIM. They've got a vast collection of musical instruments, mostly organized by geographic origin and then subdivided into genres and cultural uses. In addition to viewing the instruments, each guest is given an audio pack and headphones. As you approach the screens mounted behind each display, you are treated to an audio sampling of some of the things you're looking at. It was AWESOME. We were there for about 2.5 hours and STILL didn't see everything! (Which is great, it means I can go back again!!!).

(image stolen from scottsdalerealestates.com)

There were trombones in almost every section (awesome) and most were fairly standard sizes and materials, though they varied in age and condition. In the "France" section I found a dragon trombone!! I've always wanted to see one!! (The real name of this instrument is the Buccin).

In most cultures, horns were made from natural materials until metal became more widely available. These instruments were labeled by the museum as "natural trumpets" and were made of bone, wood, shells, horns, or tree bark.

In the "Asia" section, we found the morin khuur, a traditional Mongolian stringed instrument with a horsehead scroll. Legend has it that the first morin khuur was constructed to house the soul of a beloved deceased horse. <3 This instrument can currently be seen during the Mongolian Act in our show!

(photo courtesy Dashka Dashii)

There were ornate guitars, sitars, and kotos. There were drums of all shapes and sizes and trumpets ranging from smaller than my hand to more than six feet long. There were electronic instruments, sythesizers (Jameson oogled over these in the same way that I did over the trombones), amps, and theramins. There was so much stuff that I stopped taking pictures and just enjoyed as much as I could. We ended our visit with a little hands-on racket in the "Experience Gallery" and a walk through the gift shop, where I picked up a trombone kazoo and a bike bell (have been looking for one. The bike bell.)

Then we met Jameson's best friend Krista for sushi! Krista works with horses here in Phoenix. She and Jameson have been friends for around 18 years!! We had fun eating, drinking, and reconnecting :)

The next day was a day off. I did nothing except steal Jameson's car to go get a haircut.

Opening day was good, with a big crowd and a well-air-conditioned arena ;) For the first time ever(?), we did not perform the Star Spangled Banner at the top of the show and will not be performing it at all from here on out. I've heard many rumors as to why this might be, but nothing official. I wonder!
During the weekly meeting we were also reminded once again to avoid conflict with animal rights protestors. We are going to California next week, and activists there are far more aggressive verbally and physically than in other states (I say this from personal experience). It's unfortunate, because it means we won't be able to have many elephant walks or PR events, and even when we do security will be pretty high.

Thursday and Friday were both splits. The morning shows were packed with kids. During the Thursday split some of us band members rehearsed some music for the upcoming 4th of July company party. During the Friday split Jameson got a new tattoo!

(photo courtesy Jameson)

There's a lot of symbolism there relating to the band Queen, and to life on tour:
"My favorite Queen song is called '39 from A Night at the Opera. This is a wonderful folk song written and sung by Brian May. On the surface the song is about a group of explorers who go off in a rocket ship to discover new worlds. They travel for a year and return to find that 100 years have passed by on Earth (Due to the space/time continuum). All they've known and love has grown, died, and changed.
Deeper meaning: Brian later revealed it was actually a song about being on tour with Queen. You go out, travel with a group of people putting on shows and your life seems to freeze, it happens in quarter time. A month feels like a day, a year a month. You come home and everyone else's lives have moved forward, they've had to live without you there, grow up, have kids, all the things you've missed while on your adventure."

So true.

Saturday was Jose's birthday, and he got pied :P

(photo courtesy Lindsey)

Krista (Jameson's BFF) came to see our show and loved it!

The "Chocolate Chip Cookie Guy" is still here! We performers can hear him screaming, "Choc-late chip COOKIEEEEEEE!" from backstage. And yeah, we bought some and they were delicious :D

(video courtesy Matt C.)

While we were performing there was a dust storm taking place outside.
Nikki on Train Crew got this great photo.

Sunday was a normal two show day, except the shows were scheduled an hour earlier than usual. Most folks remembered the time difference...but a Certain Someone did not, resulting in a minor delay for the first show. He's never going to hear the end of it :D

(photo courtesy That Guy Who Forgot What Time The Show Was)

Other than that Sunday was totally normal. We had doughnuts in the bandroom to celebrate Slick Sunday. We've got a "hangover" show on Monday morning, and then it's off to Fresno, our first CA city!

Other stuff:

The Center for Elephant Conservation has a facebook page! Check it out!

A rare top view of our elephants on their way to/from a PR event!

(photo courtesy Adria)

Did you know? In the wild, tigers can consume up to 100lbs of meat in one sitting! They then fast for several days until prey becomes available again. In captivity, tigers consume about 12lbs of meat per day. Here's Victor preparing some choice tiger tenders.

(photo courtesy Chris G.)

Here in Phoenix there is a large icebox sitting directly backstage. According to Clown Alley tradition, clowns who have never performed in Phoenix before must apply their makeup in this icebox at least once. According to Lindsey (clown), it takes about 30 minutes.

(photo courtesy Matt C.)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2015 10:55 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh, the icebox!!!! That would give me a headache for the weekend!
Jun. 30th, 2015 06:21 am (UTC)
A headache from the 115F or from a 30 minute freezer session...not sure which is worse!!
Jun. 29th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Late for Gig
Oh my, looks like the MC missed the DST! :)
Jun. 30th, 2015 06:21 am (UTC)
Re: Late for Gig
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )