Monday, February 18, 2013

Next stop: Paris!

 The night before I left for Paris with Burnt Sugar I had a fever 101.4.  I can't remember the last time I've had a fever.  It's just not something I usually get.  When I get sick it usually starts in my throat and this little sickness did just that. But while it was running it's course through my head, this time it decided to bring the heat. 

So on Wednesday night before I head to leave, I woke up in the middle of the night with chills. I couldn't believe it.  I'm not a pill popper so I didn't even know if I had anything in the house to break the fever. I needed something and fast. Luckily I had one last dose of sinus meds left so I promptly took that and tried to go back to sleep.  My saving grace was that my flight on Thursday was at 9pm so at least I didn't have to rush to get up and be at the airport.

When I woke the next morning my fever was gone, but my head cold was not.  I was snotty to say the least and my head was killing me. I knew that would not make for a fun flight, but at least the fever was down.  I went out to run my last few errands, mainly to get more sinus meds to keep my fever and headache at bay, and when I returned home I leaned that our flight had been canceled and the new flight was almost two hours earlier!  OK, now I had to put the gas because I had to be at the airport two hours earlier than expected. 

I got myself together, was able to grab a list minute something from T-Kali to give to LaRonda to take to Paris and I was off.  T's husband Scott took me to the subway. I took the A train  to the AirTrain to JFK.  I made it in good time and saw some of the Sugar crew as I arrived at the terminal.  I checked in easily, I was carrying on my luggage so I went through security with Micah, and soon we were at the gate where we found Greg, Flip and LaFrae waiting.  Slowly the rest of the crew trickled in and we were off.

We never found out why they cancelled our first flight, but the plane was empty on the rescheduled flight.  We all had room to spread out and even lay down if we wanted to.  I was so glad because I was a walking commercial for Airborne. Anyone who would have had to sit next to me would have been mad about it because I was blowing my nose the whole way there and my head was killing me. I must have been up and down to the bathroom 5 or 6 times for all the tea and water I was drinking on the flight, but I was doing my best to push this cold out of me. 

One downside of the flight change was that was had to switch planes in London at Heathrow, which meant going through security all over again. Well if you know Heathrow then you know it can be a bitch to get through.  That day was no exception for me.  They were concerned that I had to many liquids so even though they were the right size they went through everything.  They ended up taking my saline solution for my contacts and my coconut oil. It's not in liquid form, but they said the container was too big. OK so now I'm sick and I'm going to have to be ashy??!! I was done.  I watched TSA do some other things that were just ridiculous and inconsistent, but I won't go into my TSA rant right now.  No time for that. Let's just jump ahead to us getting the hell out of there.  Can you tell I wasn't feeling good. LOL.

When we got to Paris, a couple of vans were there to greet us at the airport and then we were off to the hotel.  I was so done. I just felt like crawling under a rock. The cabin pressure made my head hurt so bad. So when I got to the hotel, I checked in, dropped my bags in my room, found pharmacy to get some lotion (no ash here), got a sandwich for lunch and then headed back to my hotel room to chill out.  While some of my other band mates headed to see the sites, I headed to the tub and to bed. I was needed to shake off this sickness before the show the next day.

I can't remember what time I went to sleep, but I didn't get up until about 7 or 7:30pm.  I knew I needed to get up to get some dinner or I would be hungry at some crazy hour of the night.  I had contemplated going to see Vernon Reid play with his other group the Free Form Funky Freqs, but I just didn't have it in me. Luckily I saw Vernon in the lobby before I went to get some food for the evening. I wished him well and he jumped in a van with the crew and headed to the show.  I got another sandwich for dinner and was going to head right back to bed when I spotted Vinia and Ben in the hotel restaurant.  I joined them and they told me about their day site seeing. We were soon joined by V. Jeff and it was a nice dinner vibe.  My head still hurt and I was still not all the way back so I headed back to my room, ate my sandwich, watched the Hunger Games in French (very cool) and went to bed. 

I got up the next day in time to have breakfast. We had to meet the van that day to go to the venue around Noon. I was feeling much better. I wasn't 100%, but I could sing so I knew I would make it though the show.  Burnt Sugar was doing two sets that night and my set wasn't until about 8pm so I had a lot of time to chill and get myself together. 

The Stage at Theatre Jean-Vilar
View from the Stage and Jason D. reading the paper.

We were doing the Steely Dan show conducted by Vernon and a part of the David Bowie show conducted by Mikel.  Before that, another faction of the Sugar crew were performing a live soundtrack to Oscar Micheaux's Body & Soul starring Paul Robeson. That was off the hook! Really amazing. There was a brief break for a Q&A with Greg and then the rest of us were on for the Steely/Bowie hit.

It looks like pain, but it's really love.  Lafrea Sci, Micah Gaugh and a little Olu on the side.
Me and the ever funky V. Jeffery Smith.
Me and the beautiful songbird Vinia Mojica
The obligatory percussion set up shot!

Lewis "Flip" Barnes, V. Jeff, & Ben Tyree getting ready.

Abby Dobson, Vinia & Mikel Banks getting the Steely Dan lyrics together.

The show was really amazing and as one french review stated, we all looked fabulous! This was one of those shows were I felt very present. There was a moment while we were on stage where I felt a little choked up at the thought of my life.  It's surely not an easy road, but there I was in Paris, with my people, making music and having a magical time.  I mean really and honestly magical.  When these things are happening you have to be present because it goes by so quickly. Before you know it you are at the end of the set. I'm not saying I will never play Paris again, but it will never be like that again.  Every time will look and feel different, but hopefully every time will be just as grand. 

Ben warming things up and looking good doing it!

Latasha making sure Vernon is looking proper for the evening.

Abby tucking the braids under the wig for Micah.  Sista love!

I kept my cold at bay and felt better with every song. I sang "Monkey in Your Soul" in Karma's absence, my usual "Haitian Divorce" and "Show Biz Kids" with Vinia.  I also sang "Rebel Rebel" with Mikel and "Breaking Glass" with Abby & Vinia. There were so many highlights. I hope that Greg secretly taped the show. I would love to hear it all again. 

After the show we hung out at the venue for a bit and then headed back to the hotel.  Of course there is always the post-show high to contend with. So what do you do? You eat!  Thankfully there was one restaurant open across the street.  Greg, Vernon, Paula, Flip, Ben and Vinia headed over first. Soon I joined them along with Bruce, LaRonda, Latasha and Marc (for a brief moment).  We toasted the show, ate and talked until the restaurant gave us the "you ain't got to go home, but you got to get the hell out of here" signal. 

A little post-show chat with Ben, Paula Henderson & Dave "Smoota" Smith. A little Mike Ladd back there too.
My super post show Caesar salad!
Hanging with the cool kids!

There was a little after party happening at the hotel. I stopped through, but soon I headed back to my room to do some last minute packing and to head to bed. We had to be up early to catch our flight in the morning.

I got up, checked out and caught the breakfast buffet. I had my last meal in Paris for this trip and soon we were all piling on the vans to head to the airport.  Thankfully we were flying direct this time. No more Heathrow, at least on this trip.  They did stop to look in my bag at Charles de Gaulle, but this time it was my instrument bag with my percussion.  They didn't know what my vibraslap was.  I assured them it would only make them happy. 

It was a packed flight this time, but we were on our way home.  I wish we could have stayed a little bit longer, but as I said, I know I will be back that way again and hopefully my stay will be a bit longer.

We're on our way home...
Au revior Paris.

When we arrived back in New York, thankfully Ben was able to give me and V. Jeff a ride home. I was so delirious between my sickness and the jet lag.  I came home and crashed out. 

Burnt Sugar does Paris 2013 is a wrap. Give Thanks!