Another amazing US tour is now more than half done. We have 15 shows lined up of which 9 are done, and the last three have been in Central California, which has been unusually warm and brilliantly sunny. On Sunday last we played at Chico, a small town in Northern California about 3 hours north of San Francisco. It was HOT (almost 40C), and we played 2 sets in the afternoon. The audience was absolutely fantastic, most of them dancing throughout the set. This was part of a two-day music festival, and we hope to be back here next year. 23rd night we played at Ashkenaz, the most famous club in Berkeley, home to many a radical movement and artist over the years. For about three hours Ashkenaz became India, as the mostly Indian audience felt themselves transformed back into their college days.
A similar thing happens every time we play in Seattle – we’ve done so 4 times, and always at the same place, a bar called Nuemos up on Pike Place. The audience in Seattle comprises almost completely of people working for Microsoft, and they jam right up to the stage, cheering loudly, dancing, singing along with all our songs. It’s like we could have been in Someplace Else in Cal!
We played in three cities that were a first for us: New Orleans (performed at Jesuit High, at a stage where Elvis Presley and Pink Floyd have performed!) – great first show, very happy bunch of young people from Baton Rouge organized the show (Phani, Mahendra, Ashwat, Archana, Swati and so many more), and we had a really memorable after-party that went on till well past sunrise; Cleveland, where we had a really wonderful set of people organize the show (Thanks Divya, Nigamanth, Archana, Srikanth)and what a show it was, went on for almost three hours; and Pittsburgh, where we unfortunately got to spend very little time as it was the middle of a three shows in three days schedule. Nevertheless we had a great concert and a great dinner after. AND, very importantly for me, an attractive young professor of maths called Kavita, finally solved a probability question that had been bothering me (in a background sort of way) for almost thirty years!
We drove insanely on this trip. New Orleans to Austin (About 450 miles) and then Austin to Raleigh NC, which was a mind-boggling 1350 miles over 23 hours (That’s like doing Delhi-Bangalore in a day). Then we drove from Raleigh to Clevaland via Columbus, OH and finally to Pittsburgh. We’ve been driving around in California too, but nothing over 3 hours or so, which feels like a stroll in the park.
About a week back we guys were talking about putting up an India Ocean Wall of Fame and Love, comprising of pictures of people who look after us here. It’s amazing how much love we get here and we’d love to acknowledge these people. First off, there’s Satish Kolluri and Sangeeta and Katya and Sufi in Maplewood, NJ. This is our home away from home, where we head to unerringly whenever we have any time off. Then there are Dipti, Manoj, Raoul and Raven in North Carolina, where we’ve been 5 times and had laughter-filled days each time. In Seattle, the amazing Venkat (who’s sometimes like a mom to us! We love him so!), Sangeeta and Elvis. We stayed at Venkat’s house the first time we went to Seattle and fell in love with each other, now it’s inconceiable that we go to Seattle and NOT stay with him. In Austin, Shobha and Sukku and their families are central to our being so relaxed in Texas(!). In LA, Bhuvana, Dipankar and the girls (Though, unfortunately we don’t get to see them this trip). The list goes on and on. In NYC, there’s Elise and Meenakshi and Ravin and Ram, in the Bay Area I get coddled by Brij and Burny….anyway, soon enough we’re going to have everybody’s photos up on opur personal Wall of Love.
Right then. Today we play at Frost Amphitheater, Stanford University for the memorial service of Dr Rajeev Motwani, one of the most-loved computer science professors, who mentored the e-bay start-up guys, the google guys and so many other people we only know of as websites. Dr Motwani was a big Indian Ocean fan, and his friends requested that we play at the memorial service. Then the next day we are the concluding act at the Globalbuqurque International Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
About the next half of the tour after we return to India (YES!) on 14th October.