We are wending our way toward Albuquerque, New Mexico in the dark. Snowflakes fly towards us as if shot from a funnel. Another long day on the bus… We’ve crossed 7 states in 8 days! I love seeing how the land changes from state to state. At the inspection station at the New Mexico border, we were stopped for quite a while while Arthur, our driver, filed paperwork for the bus. I took an impromptu hike and took pictures of the plants I saw… Cactus, yucca, and other small plants I didn’t recognize. I love how Colorado’s mountains have given way to flat high improbable buttes rising out of desert. When I walked, the wind whistled and the light was magical. Don’t know what it is about New Mexico. We went into the rest area in Raton. Mike Rinta started talking to the lady there about ghosts and Breaking Bad and Roswell. I joked that everyone must come in and wtart having metaphysical conversations. She said they get all kinds.

Last night at Lincoln Center in Ft. Collins, Colorado, was yet another fabulous gig. They treated us so well, and the center and staff were stellar.

We are continuing to hone the show and that gives me so much pleasure. Willy and I practiced dance choreography, all his, for the song we sing together. It was hard for me because being Boricua he dances on two, and me being from the West Coast, I dance on one. I have had to learn on-two choreo before but it’s still a hard shift, since everyone in the band who dances does it one one. But I practiced a lot before the show, even a few times during my run along Spring Creek Trail, and we pulled it off! In fact the moves garnered applause. We sang the whole song out on the apron of the stage, so we had plenty of space and it felt like we were out in the audience. We have wireless mics now for most of the shows, and I have to say that even though it was a wireless SM58, my least favorite mic, it sounded great. In fact, I spent an hour or more on the bus today listening to the recording of last night’s show, and was so moved by how fantastic it sounded. My bolero was luscious, with the orchestra sounding smooth and blended and with great dynamics under the vocal. Pete Cornell took a great sax solo, and I really enjoyed listening to it.

My cousin and aunt and uncle came to the show, as they live in Boulder. It was great to see them. My aunt wanted to be introduced to the band so I did as best as I could, though my bosses, Steffen and Christian, were busy doing the meet-and-greet.

After the show, we finally got a real after-party: a salsa social with a large group of dancers who came to the show! Some of the band went (all the Latinos) and we danced till they shut it down, then we all (band and dancers) moved to another nearby bar where we danced to salsa on the jukebox. It was insanely fun. Incriminating photos were taken. I was pleased that everyone I danced with was both nice and a great dancer. Zero attitude to be found. One thing that feels very natural to me about Colorado is the laid back (semi hippy) vibe.

I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude for this experience. All of us are, really. There are egos in the band, of course, but you wouldn’t know it from how we work together as a whole. And everyone is positive, and, as Steffen said, conscious (enlightened, almost?). In fact, Columbia told us were a special group not just musically but interpersonally. As the guys put it, we’ve all been through so much. We’ve been in the trenches. We want success.