Yesterday I cut out of work early and my partner in musical crime, Johnson, the man with two last names, and I drove up to New Jersey, and rode the Path train into Manhattan to go see Les Paul at the Iridium club. It’s only a three hour drive, plus another hour on trains. We changed to the subway at the World Trade Center. Work was going on down in ground zero at 10:30 as we passed through on our way back out.

30 PM Jan 28, 2008

It was a bit eerie looking down into that cavernous hole in the ground lit up by floodlights with welding sparks flying and huge yellow excavators everywhere.

Les is 92 years old and his playing has slowed way down. It was historic and folkloric to be there to see him, though. He has a great band, which he allows to do the heavy lifting for him. He was in great spirits, telling dirty jokes and giving everyone from New Jersey the finger.

Les Paul at the Iridium Club 1 28 08

I have heard rumors that some kind of fairy dust has been sprinkled into the Perrier to make New Yorkers behave in an uncharacteristically friendly and polite manner toward strangers and my experience, wandering the subways with a dazed, deer in the headlights, look on my face, seems to confirm these rumors. People didn’t even wait to be asked but came right up and volunteered directions. One guy even gave us a map of lower Manhattan. Even the beggars, who gave polished , well rehearsed presentations and were probably all working their way through acting school, thanked everyone on the platform or train at the end of their speeches.

One more picture for you guitar geeks out there. This is Les Paul’s Les Paul. It has fancy low impedance pickups and mysterious switches that ordinary guitars lack. Les has always been into the latest and greatest electronics. He has an impressive pedal board, too.

We trained back out t New Jersey and headed down the turnpike back to Maryland. I was safe in my own bed by 2:30 this morning. Today I am giddy from lack of sleep.