It kind of feels like being in a road weary band. In another car, headed to another place, to do something we've done many times before. As we head to the stage I turn to a roady and ask "where are we tonight?"
"Akron," they reply.
I nod. Take a moment. Roll my head around to loosen my neck and the three of us take the stage. Maggie smiles and waves, "hello Akron, we love you."
But there's that added dimension to this tour through the holidays. Sure we're playing the familiar venues with Easter, Passover, Mother's Day, and the Fourth of July coming up on the tour. But we're the Who traveling without Keith Moon. We're missing our drummer.
Even seeing Maggie greeting the crowds feels different. That wasn't really the role she's played in the past. Elena worked the crowds and Maggie could concentrate on her axe. Maggie could Miles Davis the crowd. Turn her back on them and work on her art.
But it's a new day and we've got to continue the Steinberg family tour for 2006. We've played these venues before. New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year, and Groundhog Day.
Groundhog day. Reliving a moment until we get it right. Some moments we relive but can't change. Others we live through and feel the changes.
Good Friday. Kim and Maggie are off to Kim's cousins to color eggs. Just like every other year. And yet not like any other year.
"Thank you Akron. Good night."
The show is over but like the Roches we don't leave the stage and come back. I stand at the door. Kim pauses to perform an encore. Goodbye was just a ruse. Maggie takes the opportunity to return to a computer, or a game boy, or a television set. Maggie doesn't even put on her coat. She knows that the lighters are out and the encore will last a while.
Heading home with the echoes of the evening in our ears. Not off to some hotel but heading to our own beds. And yet it is like a tour. A tour without traveling far. Not quite knowing where we are or where we are heading at any moment. A feeling or disorientation. A need for a reminder that we're headed to soccer, to school, or just out for coffee.
Wherever we have, there's an unoccupied seat on the tour bus on the way home. A gap where the drummer sat. An empty tour jacket