05/01/2008 03:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Asbury Park, NJ and Peekskill, NY

Asbury Park, NJ
The Stone Pony

April 24th, 2008

Unbeknownst to all until around 4 a.m. this morning, my first day of tour was to be set-aside for projectile food poisoning. I've had it once before (Ireland, Chinese take-out) but today has got the added heartbreak of beautiful weather and a great beach house in Manasquan, NJ.

I lay in bed until an unsuccessful foray to radio land for a projectile interview earlier this afternoon. Then back to bed and listened to the Roosevelt biography, Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris and thought about lost hardiness and what the colossus himself would have made of the pasta-colored musician moaning over a paltry stomach virus, drinking Gatorade and eating anemic saltines. Outside on the beach, Liam, the drummer in my band, took the rest of the band on a kite flying excursion. The waves waved back at me through the window.

At five o'clock, Doug Rice, who is a manager at Tough Love Artist Management and a native of Manasquan, gave me a lift down to the Stone Pony. I've never canceled a gig before and now isn't the time to start. The bus arrived shortly after and now my luggage is stowed, my suits are hung, and sound check was a breeze. We're very proud to be playing this club tonight. The Stone Pony, with its long connection to Springsteen and the E Street Band, has become a mythic place to many. Tonight it's ours...

Peekskill, NY
The Paramount Theater

April 25th, 2008

Every so often as one travels, one gets a look at the shadowy puppet master wielding the power just behind the gauze of small town respectability. Peekskill, NY is run, some would say unfairly, by a rice-colored six pound Chihuahua. It's my habit to run in the late afternoon before soundcheck, and this is where we met; me in blue shorts and a tank top, looking ridiculous but not especially intimidating, and he, naked and looking to take a pound of flesh in payment for some crime forgotten to all but canine memory. "Call your dog off!" I yell at the six year olds playing on a trampoline in the street. "Damnit!" Being attacked by a Chihuahua is something everyone should try.

The Paramount Theater is a big beautiful place. The trimmings are a kind of pioneer art-deco that springs from the same place as the music of Aaron Copland and the art Thomas Hart Benton. High up in the gods, plaster busts of Julius Caesar and Dante look down. In the middle of the show I hit myself in the face with my own guitar, cutting my brow and giving something of a black eye. I am proudly sporting it now!

[ photos by Austin Nevins ]