"I think you're gonna need a new napkin."
I'm sitting in our dressing room at Count Basie Center for the Arts, where Worriers is playing a show supporting Brian Fallon. It's a home-state show at a venue larger and nicer than anything I thought I would play when I started this band. Everyone has stories of coming a long way from basement shows, but after the past two years of uncertainty, this feels particularly special. I joke that this is the most New Jersey tour I've ever been on, but it really is.
I think (I think?) the first show I ever played with Brian was when my old band played at Asbury Lanes and he played a solo set right around the time that The Gaslight Anthem released their first LP, Sink or Swim. It's sentimental, but I'm thankful to be able to keep sharing a stage in new ways.
Touring has obviously been different. Seeing friends at shows has been almost nonexistent, maybe catching folks outside for a moment or the two times folks were able to test before hosting us overnight. But the crew who have greeted us at every venue have across the board been on our side, super helpful, and I think have enjoyed my music? Getting a compliment from the house staff is the best - THE BEST.
So far our favorite has been an especially tall crew member who sounded like the brother in Everybody Loves Raymond. He took one look at Frank's setlist written on a wrinkled paper towel and said "I think you're gonna need a new napkin!" You have to be able to hear it in that accent, but it was beautiful. That guy rules. It's moments like that that help counteract the feeling of isolation that's a part of touring right now. People we've met on this tour feel very familiar even though they're technically strangers. Human interaction still feels weird, as do new introductions and remembering names, but we're all just excited to be working.
Tonight we'll play the biggest stage I've ever played in the Garden State. It's a moment I'd savor regardless of current events, but I'm just thankful to not feel as alone anymore.