The show is at Bass Hall, a lovely traditional concert hall build by one of the Bass family fairly recently to mimic the style of an older concert hall. From the inside, it sort of works. In the amber light, as people filter in, it truly evokes a beautiful old theater. But, occasionally, there's a giveaway that it's a brand new building.
I am somewhat amazed that we're playing here. Last tour, we played the Red Jacket club in Dallas. It was a bit too small for us, but a long way from being a 2000-plus-seat concert hall. And Dallas is the larger of the 2 cities — Fort Worth proudly stands by its "Cowtown" moniker, despite the sheen of new museums and business headquarters.
What happened? Did I suddenly get more popular? It sometimes seems that way, but why? I haven't had a hit record here in ages. ("Lazy" was a hit in Europe and Australia, but not here.) Maybe word of mouth has filtered out that our touring show is good? That, combined with the fact that it appeals to a multiple generations, some of whom would prefer to go out to a nice concert hall than squeeze into an overstuffed club. I'm playing a lot more theaters on this tour, which allows that audience to be comfortable. Or maybe the pendulum just swung my way for a while, as it sometimes does.
After the show, some of the band hops on the crew bus and heads out to visit friends in Kansas City. The rest of us of us stay here and, the next morning, I connect with Christina and Johnny Reno, who I've known since we worked together on True Stories. We drive over to Dallas and catch Bale Allen’s gallery show of bronze tumbleweeds and photos. It's a great show; he’s really hit his stride, and most of the pieces are already sold.
We check out a show of peculiar images by an Argentine photographer at Photos Do Not Bend Gallery, where I had a show some years ago. This guy, equal part photographer and tinkerer, used a camera modified to take panoramic photos out a car window; each shot uses a whole roll of 120 film.
Another series was taken via a camera attached to a kite; the resulting pictures make the landscape look like model train sets. A third group uses an archaic printing method to fix B&W images of a series of futuristic, Deco-style buildings — mostly slaughterhouses, crematoriums, and some public works. They are incredible, slightly fascist structures that are now decaying in the countryside.
We pop back to Cowtown to visit the new museum of modern art, and then the Kimble next door. Tadao Ando did the new one, in a sort of homage to the Kahn/Kimble structure next door. If buildings had love affairs, this would be one. Both buildings are like beautiful, massive bunkers — concrete temples to art. If earlier art museums echoed Greek and Roman temples, these echo space, science.
That evening, the Renos stop by artist Vernon Fisher’s studio on the way to dinner. He’s finishing a giant diptych in the shape of Texas. One side has roads and the other, the earlier trails on which the roads were built. I35 follows the Chisholm trail pretty much exactly.
We meet a lot of the band and crew at Byblos, a Lebanese restaurant opened by the son of the restaurateur; he has another Lebanese restaurant in town, Hadari, where I'd been before.
After a huge meal, we all lean back and share some hookahs in a high-ceiling room filled with cushions.
Photos: Christina Patoski