Giving two thumbs up to Don Cheadle and expressing a certain ambivalence to what was presumably an Uno's pizzeria, Bryan Devendorf spent his previous installment of "Reports From The Road" revealing some of his juicier thoughts. Settling back into the bus (better known as "The Hurricane"), Bryan again finds himself in the zone, ready to follow his literary muse with the renewed energy only a tour bus can provide. Today's episode finds The National playing the cavernous Xcel Energy Center in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." (10,000!) Read below for Bryan's latest allusions to current events, references to pop culture, and Spanglish. To view some "Pictures From The Road," head over to Flickr. To see where Bryan and the boys are playing next, click over to the shows page. Hasta mañana.
DAY FOURTEEN (6/5): A bus is a bus is a bus.
I think Gertrude Stein said this. Anyway, so we open the door of "el Huracán" and emerge into the pallid, underground light of a megalithic parking garage. I experience an aura like yesterday on the plains, a free-floating feeling centered around my heart. A layer of dust blankets the tour buses, all the semis. "Arena dust," Brandon says. Then we speculate about the amount of dirt necessary to stage a monster truck rally. "Ten thousand tons?" I don't know. We discuss motocross and Obama's recent appearance here.
The Xcel Energy Center has the look and feel of the Death Star, a fiesta in gray permeated with corridors that curve into airless, faraway nowheres. A couple old friends come out and bring a gift: an oversized Francisco Liriano T-shirt. Many thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Barish. Outside, I meet a couple who have driven from North Dakota to see us.
The rest of the night unfolds in a series of non-events (I watch most of Game 1 of the NBA finals; I brood) and then we're back on the bus. I am the last one awake. From the front lounge, I eavesdrop on the CB banter among the bus drivers in the caravan:
Remember that trucker from North Carolina? We were out doing that Natalie Merchant gig. Goes into the production office and takes a shit. Literally. They got in there couldn't even open the door...
He almost got fired over that shit.
Nope. Not since we stopped talking about Maroon 5.
I remember when I was doing the Champions on Ice...
Stars on Ice?
No, the Champions on Ice. Stars on Ice is totally different.
Yeah, we gotta a whole family of bears up here at yardstick one-eighty.
"Bears" are cops. "Full-grown bears" (or "Full-growns") are state troopers; then there's "invisible bears," which apparently are out there somewhere tonight, hibernating. I shut down the computer and climb into my bunk. Dulce sueños.