"Seeing things from a better side than most can dream."
With a handful of successful shows under our belt, the team lands in Connecticut for a few East Coast dates.
After eating some quality Brazilian meats and authentic dishes, we were off to The Comcast Center in Hartford for our first East Coast show. Hartford was vastly different than any of the other shows. The demographics were much younger and quite rowdy.
But that meant a lot of registrations for newly eighteen-year-old fans.
With the help of a motivated team of volunteers, and soon-to-be team leaders Meryl and Josh, the DMB Touring Team learned some important lessons at this show:
1. People in Hartford looooooove to tailgate!
2. Tailgaters make ripe targets for voter registration!
Once inside the venue, HeadCount registered a lot of eager fans, including Korey. Korey was an eighteen-year-old Dave fan, who was so excited that she had just registered to vote, that she took pictures with the volunteers who registered her and came by the HeadCount tent to thank us personally.
We Love Korey! It's young people like her who make us excited for every single show.
The second night in Hartford was another awesome night. With hopes high from night one, the team was excited to do it all over again.
Aside from being our favorite Dave show so far (he played "Jimi Thing", "Tripping Billies" AND "Two Step" before the encore) - our numbers once again reflected a desire from young people to become politically involved.
More and more people began stopping by our table, some who recognized us from the DMB website and Facebook page and others who were simply interested in learning about what we do. We began hearing a lot of, "OH! You're the Volkswagen people," or, more often than anything else, "I wish I had your job," - as you should, it's arguably the best gig ever.
Being recognized by fans of Dave, as well as people who simply admire and respect what we do, put the team in serious registration mode.
The result? Leaving Hartford with almost 200 registrations.
Our East Coast shows continued in Scranton, Pennsylvania (yeah, like in The Office) where we were lucky enough to be joined by HeadCount Executive Director, Andy Bernstein, and Outreach Director, Laurie Lenninger!
Andy and Laurie are kind of like our guardian angels, except they're also our bosses. With the pressure on, the team was ready to pound the pavement and impress the big guns.
Luckily, we had local Scranton team leader, Casey, and HeadCount veteran, Abby Brazina, to help us out. With a huge volunteer turn out in Scranton, registrations came rushing in.
More importantly, however, Dave played "Grey Street". [For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the blog, that is my favorite song.]
The team wants to give a big T-H-A-N-K-S to Andy, Laurie, Abby, and Casey for all of their help, you are all amazing to watch in action. Also, thanks for the lemonade, Andy.
Goodbye Scranton, Hello Cincinnati!
Cincinnati marked the Team's first long break of the tour. Here are some highlights:
1. Walking the Purple People Bridge (yes, this is a real bridge) from Ohio to Kentucky.
2. Eating the most incredible Mac and Cheese we've ever had at Tom and Chee in Newport on the Levee in Kentucky.
3. Seeing The Dictator (Well done, Sacha).
4. Running into Mr. Tim Reynolds on a random street corner.
5. Eating at local hotspot, "Anchor Grille", where people enjoy the Cincinnati specialty Getta and also smoke cigarettes indoors (gross).
6. Sleeping (this is big for us, as it very rarely happens).
Four days later, the Team is back to business and set out towards Cleveland. (We did not join DMB for their Canadian shows).
It hurts to say it, but in Cleveland we spent our time with a different band: The Red Hot Chili Peppers (we're sorry, Dave, it was just a one-night thing).
After the guilt finally subsided, we were off to our favorite venue of the tour so far, Cuyahoga Falls in Cleveland. This huge amphitheater is set in the middle of an immense, beautiful National Forest and you can just feel the sense of nature, community, and love as soon as you walk into it. The team was immediately excited to work this show and our group of committed, experienced volunteers was icing on the cake.
Nicole, our local Team Leader, brought some of the greatest volunteers we've seen so far. They were enthusiastic, motivated, and ready to get as many registrations as possible.
As we have felt at some other venues, there was a clear sense of appreciation for our work in Cleveland. With people constantly stopping by the table, some to simply ask us about HeadCount, others to answer our HeadCount Community Question [What song will DMB open the show with? The winner was "All Along the Watchtower"] - it was obvious that people understood and agreed with our mission.
We had huge numbers of registrations at this show, as we were given access to VIP sections and parking lots. This venue was awesome and the show was nothing short of perfect: Dave doing the "Cornbread" dance, playing Sarah's favorite song, and ending the show with a song he hasn't played on the tour so far, "Halloween"!
The only thing that could have made this week any more successful would be Dave Matthews divorcing his wife for me.
Lucky for me, I still have a few more days to make it happen.
See you all in Boston!