10.36pm, Monday 5th March, North Dearborn Street, Chicago downtown, Illinois, USA
Evening, folks, and sometimes when you’ve been good kids – as we were over the five days of the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival – fate steps in and really looks after you! Like on this leg of the big Yalumba trip – our five-day run in Sweet Home Chicago. I got to my hotel tonight and it’s right across the road from Harry Caray’s bar – the Italian grill house restaurant set up by the famous Chicago Cubs (that’s baseball, folks) broadcaster Harry “hoooooly coooow” Caray. That’s what he used to say whenever a Cubs player hit a home run. So I have a temple of baseballiana on my doorstep, and you can be sure we’ll be in there for an after-work refresher at least once this week.
But there’s more folks!
Two blocks back up the road is the House of Blues. Now I’m in Chicago, I’d put my bags in my room, so that’s where I went for dinner – as luck would have it, tonight’s special was crumbed catfish with chipotle and jalapeño dipping sauce. That’s about as down on the bayou as you can get in downtown Chicago, so that’s for me! And then, my luck continues to run, the band for tonight starts up on the small stage at the top of the bar/dining booth area, and in about 30 seconds flat – my ears tell me I’ve had a big win. Tonight’s act turns out to be Johnny Rawls and his band – he’s this old school bluesman road warrior who’s doing 18 nights of traveling shows in March alone. Crisscrossing Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Iowa, and finishing in Folsom, California – this bloke plays blues guitar with a definite soul undertone … and sings, from growly low tones to the sweet stuff. He’s the real thing. No spring chicken, but the man is smooooooooth!
So there you go folks – we could be in for a magic five-night stand in Chi-town! I’m back to working with our resident Australian area manager, Anthony Hendrie – with our tails up after our top run through Minneapolis recently. And the girls are coming to town on Wednesday for a two-day Yalumba ‘blitz ‘ of the city. That’s our gal from Baltimore – Danielle – whom we started this whole 10-week adventure with back in January, and our gal from Denver – Ailla – whom I last worked with in Texas two years ago. So it’s going to be old home week on the road talking Yalumba around here! Let’s hope that our good luck run holds, and if the weather is any indication … here we go. There are no snow flurries on the horizon at all, and it’s going to be a ‘heatwave’ day for Chicago for this time of the year with 14 degrees Celsius! Yay!