PJ20 Experience (part one)

wow…what a trip.

it’s been well over a week since Laurel & I left the insanely hot weather of Waco to head north to Columbia, MO to meet up with Chris & Ali. to be honest, it’s taken me that long to collect my thoughts from one of the best musical weekends of my life.

we started our journey late in the day last Wednesday (8/31) with our goal being to make it all the way to Springfield, MO to stay the night. well, we had some bumps along the way (traffic, lovely Oklahoma construction, etc..) but managed to make it to Vinita, Oklahoma shortly before midnight. after waking up & grabbing some breakfast, we were on our way. we’ve driven through OK many times, but had never gone this far east through Muskogee/Tulsa, so the change of scenery was nice. there were mini-casinos at every gas station..not something we’re used to seeing in TX. eventually, we found our way to Joplin, then Springfield, then drove through the Ozarks (cool little Ozark town: Osage Beach) and finally arrived in Columbia right around 1 in the afternoon. we were greeted by our awesome friends…people we’ve only known for about 2 1/2 years, but it feels like we’ve known them our whole lives. we quickly unpacked the Scion & started playing luggage & gear “tetris” in their car. somehow, it all fit! (i was shocked, to be honest)

and away we went….off to St. Charles, MO to drop off their dog, Gertie. from there, we kept heading north towards our final destination of Delavan, Wisconsin. the drive was great…tons of new scenery…lots of cows…and SO GREEN. Laurel & I hadn’t seen green grass in months because of the drought in TX & it was a very welcome sight. we arrived in Delavan exhausted & excited. the months of rehearsing, planning & preparation were about to become a reality, and we were ready.

day #1 is Wisconsin started off by sleeping in & enjoying some coffee/breakfast in a quiet hotel lobby. our friends from all over the country & world would start arriving soon…and we couldn’t wait to play. after stocking up on some groceries & supplies for the weekend, we were able to meet a lot of these friends as they arrived. these are people that have been supporting what Chris & I have been doing from day one…and it was amazing to finally meet them in person.

the four of us ventured into the quaint downtown of Delavan for some lunch & some vinyl shopping, of course! after that, it was almost time for soundcheck, so we went back to the hotel, packed up & off we went. we arrived @ Hemingway’s right around 3:30pm…the show was set to start at 6 & we were told to be there 2 hours early for soundcheck. it seems like there there was some miscommunication going on because the soundguy didn’t show up until 5:30 or so…30 minutes before we were supposed to start our 1st set. we had the fastest soundcheck that i’ve ever been a part of…then we were ready to go. Jen & Laura introduced us & spoke about the Wishlist Foundation & their goals for the evening. (goal: $10,000; actual: $13,000!!!)

it was showtime. this was it. we’d been practicing like madmen for months and here we were.

set #1 went exactly as planned & we had so much fun….it was all a blur, to be honest. we were supposed to start our 2nd set right around 8pm, but the raffle was running long & there were other events planned, so we enjoyed the atmosphere & waited. when it was time to start our 2nd set, we were more than ready and launched right into “Man Of The Mountain.” i could tell that the break had played havoc with my voice, so we decided to keep the momentum going with more of the faster & upbeat songs while i could still sing them! the place was PACKED at this point and we had a blast! Chris sounded absolutely AMAZING & we had some really fun jams going on…smiling the whole time. i’m a lucky guy to be writing music with him…but even more lucky to be his friend.

before we knew it, it was over. we just smiled, said thanks & tried to enjoy what was happening. we’ll have soundboard audio & pro-shot video of the show soon & we can’t wait to share it with you all.

i know i said it earlier in this post, but it was truly an honor meeting so many people & being a small part of a truly wonderful event. it’s something that we’ll never forget.

so, there’s part one of my PJ20 thoughts…part two will be about the festival (which was beyond mind-blowing, by the way). i’m sure i could have said a lot more…but i still haven’t completely come down yet. thank you again to our friends (both old & new) & family for your constant love, support & encouragement….especially our amazing wives, Laurel & Alison. this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for you all.

wow…what a trip.

all the best,
Matt

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