For those of you unfamiliar with my Chicago story, you can read my post from about a year and a half ago here:
I just had a show in Chicago on Thursday, and it was a very liberating experience for me. When I lived in Chicago, everything that could go wrong did. When I left, it felt like I failed. It felt like I handled bad circumstances poorly. It felt pretty horrible. I had to leave, and I knew it even before I got robbed at gunpoint on the elevated train. The robbery just reinforced the idea. I was able to lose the weight I gained back by touring and turning to music again, living in my car for about 3 months while I was on tour. I was happy with my life again, but I still felt like I failed in Chicago.
When I returned last March, being in Chicago reminded me how empty I had felt when I left. I faced how I felt and gave an emotional performance. I was exhausted after, but glad I could face what still felt like failure.
This time, it was very different. I was excited about returning to Chicago, not to face failures, but to make things right again. A few fans told me they were definitely going to be there for the show, and they did indeed show up. 7 of them, in fact! Yes, 7 is a very small number in a city with millions in it, but it’s not small for me when I left the city feeling like there was nothing there for me. 7 may as well have been 7,000.
3 of the people at the show saw me play when they went to Miami, in 2005. Yes, they were there for the craziest show I’ve ever had. That show had over 100 people, and they started chanting “Mission Man” so loudly that I had to wait to start my set because I couldn’t hear myself! That was the last time they saw me perform, and they were glad to see me again. I was glad to perform for them, and sit down with them after the set and talk about Oxford, Miami, good times, crazy shows and Chicago.
The other group was led by someone who helped fund my successful Kickstarter campaign, and I’m glad I finally got to meet him in person. Thanks again Andy!
I also made some new fans who were there to see Bullied By Strings. Diane and her friends talked to me for a while, and said they’d be looking me up on Facebook and would love to come see me when I come back to town.
Overall, a nearly perfect show experience given where I was before. I also spent the night, which I don’t always do if the drive home is 6 hours or less, but I really wanted to so I booked a hotel. I had 2 of my favorite foods in the world, Portillo’s Italian Beef and Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza (I get Pepperoni and Sausage), and loved every bite! I walked around downtown a bit and visited Millennium Park, and did a couple other small tourist things, all with a big smile on my face! It was great to be back!
I no longer feel like I failed in Chicago, nor do I feel as if the city failed me. Things simply did not work out. All wounds from it have healed, making me a better, happier person. I’m already a very happy person, but my experience in Chicago had been an unhappy part of my life. No more!
It’s great to be back!