9am Saturday morning, we finally make it to Mexico City. The haze of the overnight flight is broken abruptly as we enter baggage claim to the sight of the growing crowd of excited fans holding signs, cameras and gifts through the frosted glass on the other side of immigration. We never want to take for granted an excited crowd, especially when the lapse in visits has been long, but with a tight schedule in order to make the most of our single day in Mexico, we had little time to do more than wade our way through the well-wishing fans at speed. As we loaded into our vehicle members of the crowd followed, filing into several waiting cabs to trail the vans route (something that we saw throughout Latin America, with some impressive and risky antics from followers looking for a picture en route).
When we arrived at the venue we made a discreet entrance through the back, and got settled for a full day of whatever was in store. We had to make the most of the less than 24 hours of time in the flesh in Mexico City to spread the word about the new album and tour, so we immediately stepped into several solid hours of socially acceptable narcissism (interviews), as we attempted to make our answers intelligible on almost no sleep. Our day was moving fast, and we needed to refuel. We were able to procure some classic Mexican tacos with various meats and salsas, and regained the energy needed to focus on the day's continued grind. Mole sauce, salsa verde and perfectly spiced pork and steak in soft corn tortillas gave everyone some pep in their step and we soldiered on.
We made it through our usual routine of wrapping up the final set list a few minutes before the show, taking into consideration some fan requests in Mexico City, and we had an amazing show. One thing you can never fault a Mexican audience for is their excitement and pure volume - something we always appreciate - and the crowd lived up to the amazing response from our last visit almost six years before.
At almost 1.30am in Mexico City after finishing the show and making sure to say thanks to the incredible fans who waited outside afterwards, we made our exit to an airport hotel for a few hours of sleep. The next thing on the docket was an early morning flight, almost early enough to beat the sun, to head to our third continent of the tour.
Our call time was 6am. With great credit to the fans in Mexico, we had many waiting still even at the early hour, attempting to say their last goodbyes as we arrived at the airport. It's one thing to show up for an afterglow following a rock 'n' roll show, but to peel yourself out again at 6.30am is another level. With bags checked in and bodies minimally rested, we waved our last goodbye to the Latin tour.
First we made a short flight back to the US, landing in Dallas, Texas (close to our home turf in Oklahoma), where re-fueled on an early Tex-Mex lunch before boarding another plane on our transatlantic quest, next stop Germany. Some caught up on random B movies in the air, and some of us (remaining unnamed) could not squeeze in that half sleep plane rest, with their mind glued to a new book purchased en route. A bit of rough air, many pages read and various shows/movies digested in the captivity of the bus in the sky, and we were finally on the other side of the Atlantic.
Once we arrived in Stuttgart at 8am, the insanity of our day was on to the final chapter, but would not be complete until we could watch nightfall one more time.
With steely resolve to beat the jet lag and make the most of an insane few days of travel, we pushed on in search of activities to occupy the senses. As the beginning of the holiday season was taking hold across Europe we sought out a Christmas market filled with seasonal beer and pastries, in a cobblestone town square. We spent much of the day out and about, searching out anything that would keep us from collapsing into the comfort of our lush German beds back at the hotel. We did not check out until we had all passed a 12 hour day standing upright, now somewhat acclimated to a new temperature and culture for this round of our touring quest.
As I looked at a new set of surroundings in a different hemisphere, I was reminded how incredible our strange and surreal job is - one that brings us around the world, sometimes with glamour and sometimes trapped in our own version of the daily grind, but no matter the situation we are able to connect with a common interest through music. In a song something can resonate, and through that connection a desire to know more rises up, a desire to hear it again and share that feeling with others. Because of that strange phenomenon of science and spirit we have our job, and sometimes get to claim our part of the sculpture and place our insignia on it. What a job, what a day.
Onward - Taylor H