Brooks, CA – Cache Creek Casino

If you aren’t familiar with it, I won’t be surprised. I only know of it because I’ve played here one other time before. Cache Creek Casino has more than three hundred hotel rooms, and a giant gaming floor, and a show room, that sits on approximately 5 acres of land. It is marvelously tucked away in the agricultural midlands of California, for vegetable and fruits and nuts that supplies the largest percentage sold in the world of those sorts of crops. Three hundred yards out of the casino, you can see nothing but vegetables growing and huge fields, with basically no humans in view. Well, you know, humans are actually doing this work, so you conclude they are somewhere in these farm houses that sparsely appear here and there. You can be sure the people that work these lands are largely immigrants, which means they’re not from America. Americans now believe this sort of work is beneath them. We are able to get away with paying unregistered farm workers, slave labor basically, with no benefits, and no protections. That’s wrong. It’s a system that’s being fought by everybody.

I didn’t get to say all of that on stage, but I did remind the audience that people from all over the world, from Indonesia, and Oslo, Norway, who are looking to gamble and have some fun, and don’t want to be in crazy Las Vegas or crazy Atlanta city, and all the other crazy casinos around America, may be sitting next to you tonight. They’re looking to have some fun, but they’re also looking to get away from the hustle and bustle traffic of down town, and the like. The pace is slower here.

From the stage, I hear people yelling requests from the 70’s and the 80’s, and I’m certain these people have come here to sing and have fun, with me, the way they have for forty years, back in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stockton, etc. Al Jarreau without all the traffic. I could see folks in the first five rows, who were rockin’ “Big City” to me and the band, sitting right next to a quiet little asian family, with only their eyes moving side to side. Quiet, shy. Behind them was a slow moving elderly couple, who could have been from Brooks, or Superior, Wisconsin, or even Hamburg, Germany. Grey hair and sparkling blue eyes, perhaps who knew my name from Hamburg 1976. Well, that was the make up of this audience, and I and other entertainers really love and appreciate this cross section of people, who gather in casinos to have a good time. They’ve left the city behind for a couple of days, and shrugged off a few worries, pulled some one arm bandits, had some good food, and had a good night’s sleep away from the daily grind.

The band guys played like they were missionaries from jazz heaven. They didn’t let up because we weren’t in New York, or Paris, or Berlin! They have a love for the craft, and “doing it”. That has always been the best motivation for doing music or any art form. The acquiring of fortunes for mediocre work has also become part of today’s commercial music scene, but I promise you those days are over, and there will be less and less of that in the future. The future will see musicians and singers doing it because they love and can’t live without it, not because there are fortunes to be made, and THAT’S THE RIGHT MOTIVATION!!! So the band was swinging any number of times with Mark Simmons, the drummer, causing me to turn around and making me smile, and looking over at Joe Turano, with his horn strapped around his neck, waiting to play, as he sings backgrounds and does keyboard strings. Peaceful look on his face. He’s my music director who’s from Milwaukee. I won’t repeat here the marvelous contributions of Chris Walker, Larry Williams, and John Calderon, as I normally do – I’ve said it before, and you’ve heard it before. We gathered down at the end of the performance, and take one final bow, and the crowd is standing for encores. We do ’em. What a wonderful night.

The Casino is happy, the guests are happy, the band is happy, and we had a little reception after for some VIP guests in, and a fabulous meeting with my old friend, Eileen Chavez, from Gatsby’s days in Sausalitos, from the early 1970’s. What a wonderful family. Her husband was a hugely successful and athletic coach in San Rafael County, with kids in the family who followed their mom and dad’s lead. Eileen herself was a tennis pro, and taught. The kids played every sport offered in the school curriculum. Amazingly, there was always an additional new family member, who was some economically challenged young man from the community, living in their house. Remarkable. Making a difference. They were friends of mine and Julio’s and we saw them often. I had dinner at their house, and played basketball in their backyard with their dad and the kids. Papa Eddy Joe was a lot like Tom Cheeks, at Lincoln High School, for whom we named a scholarship program at UWM.

Well, that’s a wrap, you guys! Thank you for refreshing old friendships, and especially for new friendships, that come from gigs in the quieter rural areas of the world! KEEP IT COMIN’! I Love it.



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