Instead of talking about Alice In Chains right out of the chute, let’s begin the first entry since 2016 by talking about me nearly barfing.

That seems properly disgusting and narcissistic.

Every gig has catering set up somewhere in the venue that serves breakfast, lunch, & dinner to band and crew.

I walked into catering in Boston and started off my day with a breakfast sandwich and a large glass of milk.

Expired milk.

Five day old expired milk to be exact.

A giant swig of rancid, repulsive, curdled milk, which my taste buds didn’t detect until my gag reflex said, “Hey, how about I send this all back upstairs for a quick rethink?”

Fortunately I just retched a couple times and went back to work, but still, that was no way to start the day.

What does any of this have to do with Alice In Chains?

Well, after a lengthy layoff, I thought I’d shake the rust off my writing skills by talking about human error a bit.

Someone on the catering staff made an error by not checking their supply of fresh milk, and I made an error by not looking at the expiration date before I poured myself a glass.

And if Sean had his way, I wouldn’t drink milk at all.

I’ve never seen another human being get so visibly upset by another human being drinking a perfectly legal and legitimate beverage, but Sean really seems to have it out for milk.

That’s an entirely different subject though.

Let’s return to human error.

I spent most of the day terrified that something was going to go wrong.

There’s always a slight tinge of that feeling on every show day, but when it’s the first show in over a year and a half, that feeling gets ramped up a bit.

When I wasn’t worrying about what I was forgetting, I was worrying how the guys were feeling, if they’d rehearsed enough, if the new guys on the crew had enough time to get dialed in, and if everything would go smoothly in Boston.

First shows can be stressful.

Overall things went well though.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was a good show, without any major glaring disasters.

But human error came close to producing a couple.

We have four eight foot tall light walls that move on this tour.

They don’t move on their own though.

The walls get moved by local stagehands, and since this was our first show doing it, naturally there were a couple of near misses and one actual hit.

Early on in the set, Jerry was walking back to the drum riser between songs and nearly got clipped by one of the walls as it was being moved into position.

And later in the set, Mike actually did get hit.

It’s clearly marked on the set list when the walls will be moving, but sometimes band members get distracted and sometimes stagehands make mistakes, and sometimes bass players end up getting smacked by an eight foot tall wall of moving lights.

As Mike said after the show, “I’ve walked into a lot of walls in my life, but I’ve never had one walk into me.”

It was pretty minor collision though, and everyone made it through the show unscathed.

So aside from my near-barf experience and Mike almost getting pancaked by a moving wall of lights, I’d say that human error was kept to a minimum, and the day went really well.

And there’s one final note that has nothing to do with anything else above.

The show was over, the gear was getting loaded onto the truck, and three of the four band members were on the bus.

The sidewalk outside the venue had been cordoned off with bike rack to keep people from getting in the way of the load out.

As I was walking toward the bus on one side of the bike rack, a group of four young college girls walked up on the other side and asked the security guard stationed there who had played earlier.

The guard told them who it was, and one of them responded with this quote, which is nearly verbatim, and written in capitals to indicate not only the enthusiasm, but also the alcohol that backed it up:

ALICE IN CHAINS??!!!!!!!!

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

THOSE GUYS ARE HARDCORE AS HELL!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t agree more.

Rainier Fog

Available August 24