Chapter Six:     Three Cities

Chrome Squatch Concert Tour USA

ART collating events from Saturday, June 27 to Monday, June 29--

I think some of the gas has gone out of writing our "document", even though it has become notorious. Just about everybody on the Chrome Squatch Concert Tour has already contributed their part of the story-- or perhaps as much as they are interested in presenting. We don't want to press our unwilling students/victims to be writing "What I Did This Summer Vacation" homework assignments. And let's be realistic; chronicling all our thrilling adventures on the road as the tour takes us from city to city, to city-- and to yet another semi-identical city --might be half-excusable for a half-crappy TV series, but we are flirting with boredom here, folx.

What the band has for lunch in Chattanooga? Meh.

Unless it was an especially good lunch, of course.

It was I, Arthur Forest, who began chronicling this story of a baby Bigfoot raised by humans, over 20 years ago because I thought it was historically important and culturally relevant. And I still do, because it still is. Nor has that story become at all boring to me, considering the Becoming-Even-More-Epic span of it: no longer about a baby Bigfoot, but an entire planet full of entities moving toward a common destiny for humans and Nokhons (and maybe whales, dolphins, etc.) alike. Ancient and modern cultures intertwining to manifest that elusive "Fair World" we have all been wishing for since the dawn of time. Or am I just being silly again?

Perhaps it's time to restructure this narrative, rather than coercing our intrepid field reporters to wrack their feeble brains to find something fascinating to write about towns like Akron or Cincinnati, let's just bundle some of those cities up into one neat bag and get them out of our way.

Unless something important or interesting actually happens, of course.

Louisville, Kentucky -- Saturday, June 27 --
concert at the Brown Theater, audience capacity 1400: Sold Out

From Cincinnati to Louisville in the state of Kentucky was only about 100 miles, but the band was booked for an early Saturday concert, so they had to hurry to be set up and ready to play by 2:00 in the afternoon. But it was no problem, except for the four drivers (Marcie, Pokey, Bunny and Gene), who had to wake up and get to work by 6:00 in the morning, while the rest of the band and roadies slept in their cozy bus beds.

The Brown Theater clearly specialized in classical music and ballet, it was spacious and had a great scene so the band could spread out, giving the Nokhons room to move. Sunny and Bunny joined Masnia and Magga to dance and sing background chorus. They'd been practicing some routines worked out together, inspired by Tic Toc videos. There were a lot of pre- and teen-aged girls in the audience-- many of them students n the ballet school attached to The Brown --and they overtook the theater in their enthusiasm. By the end of the concert all those girls were also dancing onstage.

Many adults in the audience were parents to those girls, so there was very little demand for more grown-up songs. everyone seemed to enjoy the resultant merriment and silliness. The band jumped from their standard repertoire to their funny songs, Beatles numbers, children's Nursery Rhymes set to modern pop melodies. It was amazing they could pull it off and they were themselves amazed, since it had been completely unrehearsed. It got a little sloppy, maybe, but fun.

Even though the band had extended their concert for an extra hour, it was still only 6:00 in the evening when they were free to try out some night life in a new city, which doesn't often happen, since evenings are when they usually have to do their own performances. They split up into three groups to conquer the city of Louisville and each gang had amazing adventures, I'm sure.

Rock stars in general have a disreputable reputation for drunkenness & debauchery, and Chrome Pie did their best to maintain that standard. So, of course, many of them were interested in exploring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, with focus upon "tasting". Naturally, everyone had to buy their very own bottle of authentic Kentucky Bourbon as a souvenir. Or perhaps to drink immediately. Then, some of them staggering, they went to the trendy NuLu area for some food tasting and that was Louisville.

On their way out of town later that night they drove past Fort Knox, the US Army base that contains and defends the US Treasury (Bullion Depository), where they keep stacks of gold bars backing up your precious dollar bills, although it's perhaps just as best known for being the location of Goldfinger, the 3rd James Bond movie, filmed there in 1964. ut as you might assume, a drunk pop-rock band would not be allowed anywhere near the Treasury building. even though it was surrounded by battalions of locked and loaded GIs. So why are we even mentioning it? Well, they did drive past it.

They also drove past the famous Kentucky Derby horse race track, but there were no horses at midnight, so they just kept going.

The next gig next day was only 123 miles away, all very flat miles. The convoy parked overnight at a truck stop on Route 64, halfway to Evansville. Several rock star celebrities needed to sleep off the bourbon tasting.

Evansville, Indiana -- Sunday, June 28 -- 8:00 pm
concert at the Victory Theater, audience capacity 1950: Sold Out

The next day started out overcast and chilly, then intermittent light rain. The band had become used to the warm summer weather, so they had to find their sweaters and jackets again. The rain had stopped by the time they found a parking lot quite close to their intended venue in downtown Evansville.

The Victory Theater was another of those ballet-school theaters with a plethora of pubescent dancing girls passionately eager to dance along with the famous Magga & Masnia. They tolerated the grown-up musicians only because they play the music for their squatchettes to dance to. Or so it seemed.

Another aspect could be that The Victory is home to the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, usually presenting serious music, mostly classical, which is very grown-up. It has a stage-wide video screen, so it was possible to project computer-generated images behind the players, which Gene and Don are always eager to show off whenever they get the chance. Gene has an I-pad loaded with photos and video clips he'd taken of band and crew in various dramatic/comedic situations and they became a background to the concert. Special effects, lightning and color flashes, all visually thrilling. They had a special plan for this concert.

But the concert was scheduled for 8:00 in the evening, and the convoy had arrived early in the day, mostly to satisfy those fools in the band who enjoyed gambling. There's this rather large casino on the bank of the Ohio River called Bally's Evansville.

The casino resembles a Las Vegas-style entertainment complex: gambling, bars, restaurants, night club, 1000 slot machines, all that fun fun fun that can get you into so much trouble trouble trouble. But that's what the gang wanted. The trick was to remember that they had a concert to perform later that evening. Especially Benny Joe, of course.

Of a more cultural persuasion and being a Native American himself, Pokey wanted to visit the Angel Mounds Historic Site, remains of a pre-columbian village built by the Mississippi Indians before the white devils ever arrived. So all the non-drinkers went there with him instead of to the casino; Adam, Maki and squatchettes. The local Indians working the site recognized them enthusiastically, Pokey being the star this time, for his tribal charity work with various tribes as well as the NNP.

As for the concert, the band played well and then some. They left a happy audience, all the pubescent chicks as well as the adults who paid for the tickets. But one song in particular, SOS, especially with the opulent computer light-show, had impressed them prodigiously.

It was the first time the band had ever performed that song in public. Not one of their own, but a French song Scott had heard on YourTube and brought to Adam's attention. Several male singers have performed it on various TV talent shows because it's the perfect show-off & blow-your-mind number, demanding a truly extreme vocal range. It is popularly called SOS although the actual title is SOS d'un terrien en détresse, which most Americans can't deal with. (translated: this is an SOS from an Earthling in distress) They based their rendition on the Dimash Kudaibergen version (singer from Kazakhstan), which was pretty spectacular, one had to admit. (go ahead, check it out online)

A little research revealed that it was written in 1978 as a song in a French rock opera called Starmania, contemporary with America's Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. Since then several artists, male and female, have done covers of it just to prove that they could meet the challenge. Scott was interested in putting it into their repertoire, asking Adam if he could pull it off, knowing his vocal range is more than human. Adam liked it too so they started working on it, developed an arrangement. Adam listened to some different versions with actual Frenchmen singing and learned the lyrics properly accented. He couldn't understand the words but could easily imitate them. Melly worked out an English rendition with Google Translate so that Adam had something to relate to.

So they did it onstage with digital lightning blitzing and synthesizer thunder ka-booming. Adam's vocals starting out sweet and low, a deep and harmonious bass growl, then went climbing up tone by tone to a mind-numbingly high Bigfoot howl that had people raising their hands in halleluyah, then up another octave to really astound the audience and finally up yet one more octave (higher than humanly possible), just to blow their minds. The whole theater building quivered.

The audience was stunned, squinting their eyes, holding their heads, literally gasping in awe. Some looked scared. Shocked, enthralled, but shocked nonetheless: the volume, the range, the impossibly long-sustained notes, the power of his voice perhaps properly unleashed for the first time ever. The afterwards applause was hysterical.

Having ended the concert on a high note, so to speak, the band was inspired to have some fun. But as groupies started showing up the guys realized that there were far too many VERY young (ballet school jailbait) girls volunteering for groupie-duty, so the guys headed over to the night club in Bally's Casino, where the ladies were hopefully somewhat older.

Although, once again, Benny Joe was primed for getting in trouble once he'd spotted a cute (too) young thing who was just his type and he had to be physically dragged from the Victory over to the night club, But he found an older someone else to abuse and things worked out for the best.

Saint Louis, Missouri -- Monday, June 29 -- 7:00 pm
concert at Stifel Theater, audience capacity 3400, Sold Out

The convoy left Evansville by 11:00 in the morning. It was raining again, this time harder and quite steadily. The drive to St Louis took about 3 hours on the I-64 W route, which they did non-stop, driving directly to the Stifel Theater and finished setting up the stage by 3:00 in the afternoon. Their concert was to be at 8:00 pm, so they had five hours of a very rainy day to entertain themselves.

Most just decided to wait it out, read a book or stream videos on a digital tablet, but some people would rather die than kill time. Such as Sunny. "When the day is dark and dreary-- we've still got Sunny!" (a popular local refrain among roadies). First time new town, gotta go ...somewhere quick! The rain wasn't going to stop her. Which appealed to our squatchettes, who enjoy walking in the rain, although they much prefer to do it naked. Clothing spoils it. The Nokhon girls had only their hand-made campesino coveralls, nothing waterproof. Although there was a supply of plastic rain ponchos, they wouldn't cover much more than Magga's shoulders.

Sunny was enthusiastic, as always, and offered to go naked too, if they did. Adam talked them out of wandering around naked in a major American city, that it would simply cause too much trouble and not be worth the little bit of fun it could generate.

Then there was a rudely insistent knock-knock on the door of their bus.

Once again, evangelists from TV station KGOD were demanding to interview Adam & Harem, hoping to wrest a confession of their most immoral sins, so that the grace of Jesus Christ could finally enter their hearts. Adam demonstrated the Bigfoot Howl, that incredible shriek Nokhons use to call each other over hill and dale. The evangelists fled.

Sunny finally went out, along with all the girls in the convoy (all wearing plastic ponchos) except for Magga, who saw her chance to get Adam all to herself in the big bed. Maybe Pokey and Mike too, who knows with those kids. The girls had set their sights on the most iconic tourist attraction in all of St Louis: the Gateway Arch. They could see it from the bus windows, about a mile away, looking like half of a McDonald's golden arch, only silver, standing just at a bend of the Mississippi River.

They took the rattletrap tram up to the top of the Arch, noticing that Magga could never have fit in that little box anyway (which made them feel less guilty for leaving her behind), From there they could try to look out of the long narrow steamy wet windows down at the city on one side, or the dirty brown Mississippi River on the other. Most of them felt it was a waste of an hour. Maki, who had once traveled in Europe for a summer, said this was way better than the Eifel Tower: that took 4-5 hours up and back because of the insane crowds of tourists: so wasting just one hour was a bargain.

They gave up tourism for rest of day, since the rain was only coming down even harder. The girls made a spaghetti dinner for everyone hanging out in the busses, and then it was time to go to the theater and get ready to play.

The Stifel Theater was yet another of those old opera houses, first opened 1931 and refurbished a few times, trés elegant and colorful; swooping balconies, sheer velvet everywhere, glistening gold gild, quite beautiful and inspirational. (actually, I've only seen photos of it on their web site, since I'm writing this from the Hacienda, about 2000 miles away from St Louis --Art)

The band wanted to do the SOS number again, but it had to be at the end of the show, it was too extreme to be anything but a closing extravaganza, anything else afterwards was just downhill from there. They did it and it was a success once again, leaving people shaking their heads and with a stunned sense of wonder about what they had just heard, the sheer volume, the impossible range of octaves. the impeccable delivery.

The only one dissatisfied with that presentation was Adam himself: "It's too much like opera for me, which I can sing all right, but it's just not my favorite kind of music. I like to tell stories and have them appreciated, this is pure sonic overkill that no one here can understand at all. Besides, it makes me feel like a phony, copycatting another orator's message and taking credit for it."

The rain was intense enough that no groupies showed up after the concert, and only BJ, Osmond and Gene took a taxi into town to find a tavern, but came back to the busses almost right away. Even the taverns were empty. Once again, there was a casino in this town, Lumiére Place, not as big or impressive as Bally's Evansville, but one could still lose a whole bunch of money if one really wished to-- but even BJ had learned his lesson the night before.

The next day was blue sky, sunny and hot. The summer weather was back, to everyone's delight.

The band's next concert would be in Nashville, Tennessee, just over 300 miles away, but that would be first in five days. In the meantime Chrome Squatch was taking a break because of the Full Moon, which Adam's band had previously stipulated in their scheduling contract. They had always gone off by themselves before, but this time the secret was out: everyone knew that the S&F crew would be throwing a hedonistic Bigfoot mating ceremony.

And this time some of the Chrome Pie folk-- maybe all of them -- wanted in on it.

Chapter 7

the Adam out of Eden series