V & J, being the rock solid dependable folk that they are, left at 4:15pm, hoping to get there at 5:30, after telling the catering staff they'd be there at 5:45, and contracting for a 6:30pm arrival. Get all that? Traffic and rain made travel just brutal, so we got there at 6:45. Thats right, 2 and a half hours to get from Orland to downtown. After a frantic set up, following 4 trips thru the bowels of the Ritz (video here), Vince & John retired to the employee locker room, where John enjoyed a refreshing shower before returning to the ballroom.
As always, the Cystic Fibrosis people put on a great event. WGN's Jackie Bange was the mistress with the mostest, and was a charming emcee. This year's crowd was very lively and hung out all the way thru midnight. Gina Knight rocked the house on drums, Chris Gorcik brought in a beautiful wooden electric upright bass, and the bone section featured the tandem sub duo of Rich and April. We were on, chart after chart, no fillers - relentless swing baby, and the crowd loved it. I will say this, this sort of gig tells me that the Monday night rehearsals are worth it.
So, back to the equipment truck. Vince took a calculated risk and left the truck parked down in the loading area of the Ritz. It was tucked away in an inconspicuous spot, but illegally parked nonetheless. No worries, we came down and found the truck where we left it.
We should have left well enough alone. But no. So we finished loading out at around 1am. Vince, John and Ed decide it had been awhile since a visit to our old haunt, the South Loop Club. We had several delicious beverages and a nice order of cheese fries. Vince played some Little Feat on the jukebox, and then we left.
The truck is gone.
Hilarity ensues as John and Vince realize that the truck, and all the equipment, is gone, and start yelling for Ed, who has walked off the other way. One thing about Outcasts, we are a silver lining lot, so instead bemoaning the fact that we'd been towed, we looked on the bright side and talked about how thankful we were that the truck wasn't stolen. Thanks to Ed for driving us to 17th and Western. Here we see Vince at 2:20am, asking for the '1st Tow Free' special. The clerk was not amused. Talk about a buzz killer.