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Dancing Tour '01 Road Reports
(The latest entries are on top)

Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - Saturday, May 26, 2001

Post-Tour Missives

Bryan Beller
Sunday, May 13, 11:36 PM Central Time, from the Radisson O'Hare

Watch me be brief. Just watch me.

After the NYC Bottom Line show, I separated from the entourage to spend some time with my family, with the idea of catching up to them via plane in Cincinnati. Well, they're all cruising into Cincy as I type, and I missed a connection through O'Hare and am stuck in Chi-town. Can you say Alternate Reality? Anyway, I'm looking forward to rejoining them tomorrow in time for the Guitar Center Taylor clinic, and will now take the time to tell you how much I love everyone in this entourage:

Marc Ziegenhagen: Fellow vet, massive snorer, doing unbelievably creative stuff in his "Selfish Otter" solo moment and inspiring me to do new things myself.

Rick Musallam: Stage neighbor (we're often standing so close to each other that I can count the hairs on the back of his neck), excellent John McLaughlin impersonation in "The Knife and Drum", holding his own trading solos with MK (!!), always doing the RIGHT thing.

Tricia Williams: Super-talented, gorgeous, and a surprisingly hardy road warrior for a first-time tourer. Hasn't smacked me in the face yet, despite my road-enhanced ultra-male behavior. Excellent road cases. Has sworn off wearing short skirts at The Bottom Line forever.

Evan Francis: Bohemian Extraordinaire. The only guy I know who can miss a flight to start the tour...and make it somehow endearing. You should have seen him in NYC, soaking up the O.G. jazz vibe as we cruised through Harlem. According to Dennis, he nearly exploded with joy.

Stacey Ferguson: Former country girl from Southern Ohio (read: Northern West Virginia), first time in NYC. First time doing merch, hanging in there under all sorts of duress. Hardcore road warrior. Seeking nickname that begins with 'M' as in "MerchM-----". Suggestions will be taken at the merch counter in person.

Nick D'Virgilio: Being new, kicking ass, taking names, singing really high notes, making "Chatfield Manor" and "Live In Japan" possible nearly single-handedly. Great DJ voice. Almost as hairy as Rick. Doesn't hate me (yet). Plays a "dumbeck" (pronounced DOOM-bek).

Dennis Hill: Expert bass cabinet grill repair skills. Brings Air Force-level professionalism to our vehicle-to-vehicle radio communication. Another vet, this time not on vampire hours (though daylight still seems to shock him on a regular basis). Eagerly awaiting pool tables and the state of Kentucky.

Thomas Nordegg: So far, I have seen only his shadow. Everything else is a magnificent Austrian blur.

Scott Chatfield: Exowax exec excels except in accepting praise in prose for public perusal and posterity.

Mike Keneally: A quote from backstage at The Bottom Line, regarding the size of the band--"I keep hearing more and more instruments." Uh-oh.

Plus, a new LOB is in the can, written before I left.

Thank you for watching me be brief. Oh, have I mentioned that the audiences have been incredible so far?


Tricia Williams, 5/13/01: I’m sure Mike and other band members will discuss the shows, I would like to simply note some "behind the scenes" dining events. First of all, yesterday was the finale of my "Friendly’s" experience. I was sitting in a booth next to Nick with Mike across from me and Rick next to Mike. While speaking with Mike, I see something long, thin, and hairlike hanging off of the half of my sandwich that I am holding in my hand. I quickly pulled it off, hoping it was a piece of cheese and put that half of my sandwich down. Mike said, "Was that a hair?" and I replied, "I’m not sure, I pulled it off and threw it on the floor before I could tell so that I don’t vomit". Then, I looked down at the other half of my sandwich on my plate and saw that it had hair hanging off the side of it too! YUCK! The waitress happened to be at the table during this discovery and quickly ran off with the plate of food. I must admit, she was "Friendly" and offered me another dish on the house, I chose a vanilla shake hoping the balding chef wouldn’t make it. The waitress returned with the shake and told Mike his sandwich was going to take another 15 minutes and would he like to order something else? The best part of the story is that Mike replied with a substitute order and then stated, "Hopefully you can condition mine thoroughly". Tonight, we stopped at "Perkins" in Pennsylvania where Dennis ordered a salad. Midway through, he pulled a twisty tie that is used at the end of bread bags out of his salad. YUCK! Of course, both of these experiences were a drag, but I must admit that I would go through it again countless times if the rest of the tour depended upon it.
Tricia Williams, Mother’s Day, May 13, 2001

Dennis Hill, 5/13/01: We’re a mile east of Caenterville, PA, heading toward Cincinnati. I’m riding in the "non-smoking car" listening to Joni Mitchell with Mike, Stacey and Tricia. I've handed over the van keys to Scott so I can see the country side.

Last night's shows at The Bottom Line were great, with the exception of a broken volume pedal in Mike’s rig, during the first set all was well. Thanks to the amazing abilities of Thomas, the volume pedal issue was solved. The highlight of the evening was an unplanned guest appearance by Ed Palermo, the interplay between Ed and Evan was a lot of fun. Speaking of Evan, he rode with me in the van as we drove into NYC, that a treat within itself. You see it’s his first time in NYC and his eyes were as big as pancakes.

Something that I failed to mention in the last missive is that I really miss my girlfriend Laura and how gratefull I am that she let me join the tour.

Two full houses at New York City's Bottom Line enjoyed one of Mike and the band's best nights ever Saturday, May 12-- they'll return to the scene of the crime on Saturday, May 26. Onstage are (l. to r) Tricia Williams (vibes, percussion), Marc Ziegenhagen (keyboards, vocals), Mike Keneally (guitar, keyboards, lead vocals), Evan Francis (saxophone, flute), Nick D'Virgilio (drums, vocals), Bryan Beller (bass, vocals) and Rick Musallam (guitar, vocals).

Mike and BFD respond to a standing ovation after their second headlining Bottom Line show.
Photo by NYC Guest Host Roy Berkowitz.

Rockin' Providence at The Met on Friday, May 11, it's (l. to r) Tricia Williams (vibes, percussion), (partially hidden) Marc Ziegenhagen (keyboards, vocals), Evan Francis (saxophone, flute), Nick D'Virgilio (drums, vocals), Mike Keneally (guitar, keyboards, lead vocals), Bryan Beller (bass, vocals) and Rick Musallam (guitar, vocals). The audiences on this tour have been amazing; thank you!

Squeezed onto a tiny but hoppin' stage at Johnny D's, Mike and the band tear open two juicy sets for a very appreciative Boston crowd. (L. to r) Tricia Williams (vibes, percussion), Marc Ziegenhagen (keyboards, vocals), Mike Keneally (guitar, keyboards, lead vocals), Evan Francis (saxophone, flute), Nick D'Virgilio (drums, vocals), Bryan Beller (bass, vocals) and Rick Musallam (guitar, vocals).

Photos From Johnny D's in Boston on May 10 by Guest Host Brian Douglas

Photos From Johnny D's in Boston on May 10 by Guest Host Brian Douglas

MKBFD "01" Dennis Hill
May 9, 01
Howdy, once again I’ve been asked to join in the fun and tour with all that is MKBFD. This time, sharing driving duty with the very cool and funny Stacey Ferguson. We departed Los Angeles, CA on May 5 to arrive in Albany May 7. We decided that our 15’ box truck is to be called "The Sleep Deprivation Chamber", since we averaged 13 to 15 hours a day in the thing. Along the way we had hoped to stop at any of the countless roadside amusements, however this wasn’t the case. We did manage to stop at one we had stumbled on by mistake, "The Cadillac Ranch" just west of Amirillo, TX was a site to see. Several vintage Cadillacs stuck nose first into the ground, covered with graffiti, in the middle of a farmers field was worth turning around for a few pics. We arrived ahead of schedule, thanks to Stacey’s navigating ability.
I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, trying to pick up all I can from Thomas and witnessing all that MKBFD has to offer.

’01 TOUR – May 9 (first gig) – MK report

We’re having the traditional post-gig hang in Beller’s room at the moment (the moment is 2:34 AM) listening to Spiegelhalter’s Mini-disc of tonight’s gig, the debut performance of BFD Mark Whatever It Is, here in luscious Albany. It was a good gig and listening to it now I like it even more than I thought I did. Want to know the set list?

Live In Japan
We’ll Be Right Back
Knife And Drum
Oh Angel
Ankle Bracelet
Mystery Music
Pretty Enough For Girls
Mexican Radio (with Beller merch pitch)

Aye-Aye Monster
Why Am I Your Guy?
Selfish Otter
Free At Last
Career Politicians
Ragged Ass
Plentiful (Lip) Balm
I Was Not Ready For You
Lhai Sal
Self ‘n’ Other
Chatfield Manor

"Plentiful (Lip) Balm" is the title I gave to a very brief Rhodes improv at the behest of a title-craving Ron Spiegelhalter.

The band sounds really strong. Hooray! I’m not typing much because I’m very much enjoying listening. My fave bits were probably "Why Am I Your Guy" and "Free At Last" which were both utterly ferocious.

Thank you band and thank you audience! I had a lot of fun tonight!

Mike K.

Marc Ziegenhagen: 5/09/01 10:41 pm, Badda-bing, Badda-bang, Badda-boom. Da first set of De Thoid Tour haz just left da Room. So much a joy - so totally the balls - such a rockin’ rollin’ living dream this all is. Once again, we’ve started another tour that will last us all a lifetime; and it is merely just the Next Beginning. Hell, there’s still one more set left before this night will be over, Then we’re off once again into the night. To find the next Dream Come True in the next town and the following towns there-after-like.. See you there, we hope. Thanks tons.

MK/BFD rehearsing for the Dancing Tour '01's first show at Valentine's in Albany, 3:45 pm, Wednesday, May 9, 2001 (Evan made it!).

‘01 TOUR NIGHT 1 - Mike K. report

It’s the first night of BFD on the road, in Albany, NY the night before our first gig. Evan Francis sadly was unable to board his plane in LA and wasn’t here for the industrial-strength bonding which took place tonight (he’s getting here in the morning, don’t worry). And I’m sad because I’ll be away from my sweetheart Sarah and from Jesse for so long. But I’m really emboldened by the strength of this band and crazy excited about what’s going to happen on this tour. We had a wonderful time tonight listening to music and talking about what we’re about to do on this tour, and I can tell you that this band is up to something.

We can’t wait to see you at the shows. As always, if you know anyone who might want to go but might not know about the show, please tell them about it, we appreciate it. A lot of people are investing a LOT of time and energy and funds to help make this tour successful. If I don’t say it often enough, I’ll say it again: I’m grateful beyond words. Your help means a lot to us, and be assured that I mean that in every way. This is a scarifyingly risky proposition for us and many, many of you are making it clear that it’s the right thing to do.

Thank you Scott, Bryan, Ron Spiegelhalter, all Guest Hosts, Jon Neill, Greg Kucharo, Anne Leighton, Howie Schnee, Jon Phelps, Marc, Rick, Evan, Tricia, Nick, Stacy Ferguson, Thomas Nordegg, Dennis Hill, Laura Vasti, Sarah, Jesse, Sydney and ALL of you who are doing so much to help us. Thank you.

This is going to be great! Oh, I wrote two songs on the plane!

Mike Keneally
3:54 AM
May 9, 2001
Albany NY

On the eve of the Dancing '01 Tour, it's almost the entire MK/BFD ensemble assembled in Albany (Evan missed his plane)! Stoked by Absolut screwdrivers provided by Bryan Beller, the crew trots outside for the traditional pre-anything photo. (Top row, l. to r) Scott Chatfield (tour manager), Tricia Williams (vibes and percussion), Dennis Hill (tech), Mike Keneally (guitar, keyboards, lead vocals), Stacey Ferguson (merch, assistant tour manager), Rick Musallam (guitar and vocals). (Bottom row, l. to r.) Marc Ziegenhagen (keyboards, vocals), Nick D'Virgilio (drums, vocals), Bryan Beller (bass, vocals, screwdrivers), Thomas Nordegg (tech). Damn, this is gonna be something.

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