Half of us took the train from New York Penn on Amtrak, while the other half flew in from Chicago, Nashville and Austin! Already loving how touring brings folks together.
Taking the Amtrak is always, well…thrilling. For a Monday afternoon, it was fairly crowded at New York Penn station. Thanksgiving travel, I assumed. One tip I did learn after boarding that plane is when making reservations, is make them separate so you get separate tickets. When they announce the gate number, a herd of people with luggage just crams into the escalator door, making it hard for the 4 of us to go through together. I had to stand back and wait for everyone to get through and tell the impatient ticket man that these 3 guys are with me as they walked through.
I am with musicians who travel and tour for a living, so they knew to go right to the end of our coach class cart so we could find seats and luggage space easily. Done!
The ride was very easy and once we arrived at the train station, the driver was there to greet us. With one SUV for our 6 bags of LARGE luggage, it reminded ME to remind presenters that we are traveling with a lot of luggage and they need to prepare for that.
Once we all checked into the hotel, I planned a little welcome dinner for everyone to meet and catch up, and it was really fun for me to hear their conversations of past gigs, past collaborations, current state of the industry, current opinions of the industry…all of it. Something about being immersed around people who are really ‘doing it’ feels great to be a part of.
First day had some bumps, but nothing that can’t be handled. What I learned from the day:
1. Print out tickets for each person on the trip – take into consideration folks being late and getting lost in lines.
2. Don’t go for the first door on the train, walk down to the end to find a decent seat with luggage space.
3. Tell presenters you will need a large vehicle for transport – with musicians on the road for 3 weeks, that’s a lot of luggage.
4. If there’s time, plan a little meet/greet/catch up event, whether it’s a quick bite at a bar or a relaxed dinner. You are going to be on the road for weeks with these guys, make the effort to get to know each other! And also, hear some juicy stories.