Life on the Road: A Touring Band’s American Adventure [Vol 2: Savannah, Georgia]

Ten days on the road!  We are hot, we are tired, and we are already annoyed with each other.  There is not enough space in this van for the five of us.  Everyone’s shoes are all over the place and someone sat on my hair products, which I desperately need to tame my mane in this ridiculously humid weather.  But last night was amazing.  Last night was one of those nights that reminded us why we sleep on floors and eat junk food and make only enough money to scrape by.

We rolled into Savannah at dusk, greeted by a banner of Spanish moss and heavy air.  A beautiful lavender sky welcomed us and reflected off of plastics bags full of water, hanging from store fronts and sitting on outdoor tables.  Overly confident from our travels and a bit pompous from performing, we find it easy to talk to strangers and difficult not to ask questions about our new surroundings.

“Why are there plastic bags full of liquid hanging everywhere!?” was the first thing we asked as we walked into the venue.  We hadn’t quite acclimated to the pace of the south, and our aggression would not stand, man.

“Hello, what’s your names?” the barista asked us.  We introduced ourselves properly and took a moment to get to know each other.  A while later, the thick, sticky heat seeped into our skin and we, too, were moving slowly.  He finally answered us, and explained there was water in those bags to keep the flies away.  We swatted some flies away from our heads and asked about the scientific nature of such a repellent, but no one had any idea.

Before we played our show, we took advantage of all the Sentient Bean had to offer.  This coffee shop and venue has been called “a haven for indie film, live music and literary readings.”  It reminded us all of something we might stumble upon in Brooklyn, but full of smiling faces and strangers interested in stimulating conversation.  We ate some delicious paninis and had ourselves some wonderful iced tea and met a bunch of really nice people.  The show itself was awesome.  There was a great sound system, pretty lights, and an engaging audience.  We all fondly remember this performance as one of our more emotional shows.  We could feel a strong musical connection to our listeners; when we danced, they danced; when we became introspective, they became silent; when we screamed into the microphones and were drenched in sweat, they stood up and screamed, too!

We thought nothing could make this southern night in Georgia any better, but we were wrong.  A group of kids that had been in the audience asked us if we had any plans for the evening.  Being rock stars, midnight meant the night was just getting started.  These lovely young people shared an experience with us that we’ll never forget.  After we packed up our gear, we followed them to the beach on Tybee Island.  We drove over bridges and through wetlands, with no idea where we were going or what the black outside our windows looked like in daytime.

Once we got there, we took off our shoes and left them in the van.  They handed us a bag of fresh blackberries they’d just picked for us and we ate them as we walked in the sand.  A bottle of nice scotch, nicer tequila, and disgustingly cheap vodka materialized and was passed between hands.  We were guided only by the sound of waves on the pitch black beach. Our new friends kicked some sand and told us to look. Sparkles! Glitter! Tiny little lights in the sand. Plankton or algae or some kind of bio-luminescent creature. We stripped off our clothes and ran into the ocean, tiny stars sticking to our hair and eyelashes, sliding down our arms and chests. I licked my lips to taste the sky, but the sky tasted salty. Our arms made pathways of light with each stroke, and small pests nibbled at our toes. We swam like a school of fish, finding the brightest patches, whooping and laughing and tossing water into the air. Eventually we made our way back to the shore, emerging from the warm water and our naked skin reflecting the light streaming from the colossal lighthouse looming over the beach.

This is the part of the story where I reveal that we weren’t roughing it quite as hard as I may have implied.  Since there are 5 of us, we have many connections throughout the country- familial and friendly.  We happened to have some amazing family friends who lived in a gorgeous house on Wilmington Island, an amazing place surrounded by rivers and lovely homes.  We made our way back there to fall asleep, and woke up in the morning to find we were staying at a BEAUTIFUL mansion along the delta.  We walked out to the dock and hung our feet over as we took in our surroundings.  Low and behold, we were right next to Paula Deen’s house!  (At the time I had no idea who that was, but Food Network celebs are very important to some people…).  Though we didn’t stay long enough to see any, our gracious hosts informed us that there are all kinds of sharks and dolphins in the waters surrounding the island, and that there’s nothing better than to take the boat out and cruise around in the sun.

If you’re not in a touring band, you’ll still like Savannah, GA and its surrounding areas!  Check out some of the links below for Big Tree’s favorite local spots.

And don’t forget to check out for happenings around town.

Kaila McIntyre-Bader is a freelance writer and a musician splitting her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and New York. Born and raised in San Rafael, California, Kaila received a Liberal Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Kaila lived in Cuba for four months, taking Biology, Spanish, and Opera Singing classes while learning how to smoke cigars and stay up all night. She has backpacked through Europe, traveled through Central America, volunteered for the Amigos Program in Panama, and toured extensively across the United States of America with her pop band Big Tree. When she’s not working as a waitress or teaching flute lessons to children, she is wandering the world and faithfully reporting back to readers all of her secrets and adventures.