Rock Hard: Chicago

When we rolled into Chicago on the last night of our tour it was like a huge weight dropped off my shoulders, we still had one final gig to do but we were home. For me there is a lot of comfort in coming home, not just the whole home is where the heart is stuff it’s more than that. As well as family there is the familiarity with playing the same venue we’d played more than thirty times and that was good for both the crew and us and there was a familiarity in the crowd because so many of them had been following us from the early days.

But I think the most comfort came in knowing that our gig in front of our home crowd was going to be our last gig for a few months and we’d have the chance to rest relax and get back to something that resembled humans again.

Given that most of our crew was local to Chicago, like we were, there was a temptation to get into town early and all rush off home to see friends and family before getting down to things. However on previous tours we had learned to ignore that temptation and treat the final gig as if it was any other gig on the calender, set up the gig, play the gig, then go home and collapse.

Dean and I rang Mom and Dad on the way into Chicago and gave them our arrival time and in true Mom fashion she wanted to been there to meet the bus but Dad assured us that he’d hold her at bay and that he did, until not long after 4pm when they both rocked up to the venue. It wasn’t a bad thing the crew were all doing their jobs, we were just finishing up an interview for the local radio station and Mom and Dad rocked up, in Magnhild t-shirts, with Benji’s Mom and step father and Mark’s grandmother and Mom. It was like they’d formed their own Magnhild cover band of old people…sorry Mom and Dad!

Of course the noticeable absentees from that list were Adam’s parents but as I might have mentioned previously while they got along well they didn’t have the need for connection like many families did. Besides he was just the sound guy, not a real member of the band….sorry Adam!

With the welcome home hugs and the engagement congratulations over and done with it took Mom about three minutes before she was wanting to talk about engagement parties and weddings. It took me about three minutes and five seconds to remember why we didn’t go home and see our families before the final gig. “What date have you set?”, “Who can we invite?”, “What sort of dress do you want? Oh don’t answer that Adam is listening!”, you know the usual questions mothers want to know about weddings.

Now there is obviously a time and a place for everything and while Adam and I were so much in love we were happy to discuss what Mom wanted to talk about we knew the time and place wasn’t before the gig, if only Mom knew it! Thankfully Dad was on the ball and before Mom got too carried away he steered the conversation into a different direction.

“Do I get my name on the door tonight?”

Of course all our parent’s names were on the door, even if they weren’t there is no way they wouldn’t get in for nothing, but Dad’s silly question made me laugh, he sounded like a fan desperate to see us but not desperate enough to pay for a ticket.

“You can write your name anywhere Dad, but you pay to get through the door just like everyone else!” I replied with a smile. “There is no free rides in this world you know!”

“Oh well,” Dad replied, “Barry Manilow is playing in town tonight too, I guess I could always go down there and see some real music!”

Mom and Dad weren’t what you would call hardcore fans of ours, they supported what we did, went to most of our local gigs and listened to the music we made but there was no hiding the truth that if it wasn’t their kids band they wouldn’t even know who Magnhild were.

“Ouch!” I said laughter taking over my speech.

Our family reunions were only brief because we all had work to do but saying goodbye was made easier by the fact that we all knew there was no tour bus to jump on the next day. We’d have a lot of cleaning up, sorting through things and finalizing our tour, which would be done at the warehouse Magnhild rents out near the Freeway off ramp, but we’d be close to home and everything for the next few days would be done at a relaxed pace.

Like I said the familiarity of the venue was a big plus for us because we knew where everything was, how we liked the stage set up and Adam’s desk had all our levels set. In all it made for our set up to flow smoothly and quickly. Sound check went just as smoothly too and because there was no breaking the momentum it was almost like a mini concert for the crew.

All in all we were glad to be back in our home town and glad to be playing the final gig of our tour in a venue that felt as cozy as home did.


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