Travels to see Kasim

This is my online diary of my trips to see Kasim.
I'm really writing this diary for (a) myself and (b) my friends but I know that other people will hit it too so feel free to browse around! Just remember that this is the way that I choose to live part of my life - I don't make judgements on the way your live your life so kindly show me the same respect.

Click the envelope icon to have the posts sent to your e-mail account.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kansas City, MO

My alarm was set for 6am but I work up naturally at 5.20am again (how weird!). I left at 8.15am for the six hour drive to Kansas City. Surprisingly the journey went very quickly for me. I stopped at a Denny’s for a late breakfast at about 11.30am.

A lot of my drive was along the historic Route 66:

I reached Kansas City at about 2pm. I was going to stop off in a town called Independence where President Harry Truman lived but the house was closed for renovation. I drove into the city and easily found the venue where Kasim is playing tonight.

Kansas City skyline:

I’m staying out at the airport which is to the west of Kansas City so that’s added about an extra 20 miles to my journey! I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some work in my room and left at about 6.30pm.

I got to the venue far too early so I sat outside for about half an hour. It was quite a busy place but when I went in, I really struggled to find where Kasim was playing. As I wrote in my review, thankfully I met someone who I had corresponded with via email who showed me where he was playing.

Kasim played a great gig but it’s a shame there was so few people there, especially as it was also for a charity as I doubt that they took much either.

As there were so few people there I stayed around for a while afterwards but still managed to get back to my room by 11pm. I went straight to sleep as tomorrow will be a very long day ….but fun!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Springfield, IL

My hotel for the last 2 nights:

My car has an amazing dashboard:

My alarm was set for 7am but I woke up naturally at 5.20am. I updated my websites and logged onto my work email. Our artists (especially the singers!) do like to receive their money for concerts promptly so it’s less hassle if I keep on things while I’m away.

I left at 10am (to avoid the Chicago rush-hour) and drove the 3.5 hours to Springfield, IL.

Kasim is playing in Kansas City tomorrow evening which is about nine hours from Chicago but I decided to stop overnight in Springfield and have a look at that city.

I stopped for a quick sandwich on the way and reached Springfield by about 2.30pm. It’s the city where Abraham Lincoln lived for about 20 years so I visited his house. By chance I timed it just perfectly as there was a movie about his life in Springfield just starting and then I joined a tour of the house which was very interesting.

The kitchen (very small)
Abraham Lincoln's actual writing desk
Not the original bed but the ghastly wallpaper is identical to what they had (the girl was our guide):

The back part of the parlour where Lincoln first heard that people wanted him to stand for President:

After that I drove to Lincoln’s Tomb which is really big (his wife and 3 of his 4 children are also buried there but it’s the same size as a UK mausoleum that I went to which housed about 40 relatives of one family).

The tomb:
For some reason people reach up and touch his nose on this statue outside the tomb:
Consequently the nose is very shiny:

I then drove to my hotel. I’m slumming it tonight at a Red Roof Inn but it’s only for one night and there wasn’t a great deal of choice in the city.

I logged online for about an hour and went out to a nearby Ruby Tuesday for one of their gorgeous pasta dishes.

I got back to my room by about 7.30pm as a friend was ringing at 8pm so we had a long chat.

I then wrote some reviews and sorted out my photos, plus did some work and got to sleep at about midnight.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kasim's gig in Fort Atkinson

After my segway tour I drove up to Fort Atkinson in Wisconsin. It was supposed to take about 2.5 hours but there was some construction and subsequent delays near the airport so it took me closer to 3.5 hours. I had planned to have a late lunch at a restaurant near a lake close to the venue but instead I stopped on the tollway and had some of my favourite Chinese – orange chicken at a Panda Express.

As I then reached Fort Atkinson early I drove to the lake (which was very peaceful) and found the restaurant but it looked much better on its website so that all worked out quite well.

I drove back to Café Carpe and arrived about 10 minutes before Kasim’s gig was supposed to start at 5pm. I saw Kasim’s other gig here in 2002 and I didn’t remember the venue at all until I walked into the room where he played and then I did! It was about three quarters full (but it is a small room). That actually made the gig really special. Kasim, of course, put on a great gig. His set was list was almost the same as last night except for a couple of changes (I’ve added a review at

The funniest thing during the gig was that Kasim was talking about his last solo gig and asked me which date it was in February. I don’t know what was more bizarre – the fact that he expected me to know the date or the fact that I did (19th)! He also dedicated my favourite song The One Sure Thing to me again and said that he always dedicates the song to me whether I’m at the gig or not!

As I was feeling tired and had a 2.5 hour drive back to my hotel I left straight afterwards and got back by 10pm and to bed by 11pm – I’m really living it up on this holiday!!!

Segway tour of Chicago

I’d set my alarm for 7am but I woke up at 5.30am naturally. I left at about 8.45am and drove into downtown Chicago. Even at that time on a Sunday morning there was lots of traffic.

I rode a segway back in England a few months ago and absolutely loved it so I’d leapt at a chance to join a tour of Chicago on one! It wasn’t cheap ($70) but it was great fun! First of all they showed a safety video and then we had to give a deposit and sign a waiver and things. It was so different from the English way of doing things!

It was a group of 7 and he picked me to demonstrate how easy it was. I think he chose me because I’m female and I was the eldest in the group. Once he realised I could stand on it, he said for me to just practice carefully by myself so I was off! I went up the hill nearby, across the rocky grass, around the cars and then I realised the others were standing and applauding me which was funny! I did admit that I had done it before but afterwards he said that we were 40 minutes ahead of schedule and this was the fastest group to learn to ride that he had ever taken due to having seen me having fun on it.

The tour was for 3 hours and we covered 8 miles all around the lake front which was very pretty. There were several stops for photos and the guide told us all about the city. It was a far more genteel tour than the English one (probably due to safety over here) as we kept to footpaths – in England we went across fields and up and down small hills.

The Planetarium:

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

London to Chicago, John Hancock Building and Kasim gig

I have 7 Kasim Sulton gigs in 12 days plus loads of driving and fitting in updating my websites (it’s plural now!), checking into work each day, sightseeing and hopefully getting some sleep so my travelogue for this trip won’t be as detailed as on previous travels!

I’d got to bed at about 11pm last night as I had to get up at 3am today to leave at 3.45am and drive to Heathrow. I dropped off my car and caught the shuttle-bus to Terminal One where I very quickly handed in my case (I’d checked in online yesterday) and went through security.

I caught the 7.45am Heathrow to Chicago United Airlines flight and it was almost full. I’d taken the last remaining window seat so I was right at the back but thankfully they still had both choices of breakfast remaining. I haven’t flown United for a while and I wasn’t too impressed with the food…American Airlines is much better.
The films weren’t anything that I fancied so I read, watched something on iPlayer on my laptop and then read again. I gave a huge sigh of relief once we were west of Iceland so safe from the ash cancelling my trip!

We landed half an hour early at 10am Chicago time (6 hours behind UK time) but it seems that 3 planes had just landed before us so it took 1.45 hours to get through Immigration – the longest it’s ever taken me in all the times I’ve been to US!
I picked up my rental car and drove to my hotel which I reached by 12.45pm. I’d arranged to meet Rebecca in downtown Chicago at 1.45pm so I had a very fast but much needed cuppa and got to her only about 5 minutes late.

We went up to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building. We travelled in the fastest elevator in the US and it certainly made my ears pop! There was an amazing view from the top. The Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) is taller but this building has great views over the lake.

The tall bulding on the right is Sears Tower:

Afterwards we had a cuppa in the café below and a chat and then Rebecca went to collect her friend Mandy while I had a wander around downtown Chicago.

The traffic to The Abbey Pub was quite heavy so I got there about 10 minutes late for our 5pm dinner but Rebecca and Mandy didn’t arrive until about 5.40pm! They allow people who eat there into the venue first but, as we were still eating, we joined the back of the priority queue so there weren’t any sets of three seats together when we got in so we sat by the window. As I’d been up for over 24 hours by this point it was quite useful as the daylight helped keep me awake!

There’s a detailed review of the gig at but it was a fun gig and Kasim played some of my favourite songs (and left out most of my least favourite too which was a bonus)!

I left soon after the gig as I felt tired and got back to my room by 10.30pm and was asleep by 11pm! I’m staying in a Candlewood Suites out near O’Hare Airport (not that I’ll have much time to use the kitchen in the room!).

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Kasim Sulton and Todd Rundgren in Englewood, NJ

I caught the 10.30 shuttle from my hotel to JFK and collected my car. I opted for a budget model (i.e. basic) and it is very basic - it even has wind-up windows! Of course it's an automatic (as almost all US cars are) but it doesn't have cruise control. Even so it's still costing £110 for this weekend.

I drove across to New Jersey (I came across the George Washington Bridge so I saw Manhattan in the distance) and easily found my hotel. As it was still early I drove to Englewood to find the venue which was easy to spot and was only about 15 minutes away. I then tried to find somewhere to have some lunch but the first two places my SatNav tried to take me to were both closed!

I eventually found an Applebee's and had a nice chicken pasta. I went to a CVS Pharmacy and stocked up on my favourite US shampoo and conditioner, plus I bought loads of cards. The US have much better cards than we do in the UK.

I got to my hotel at about 3.30pm. I'm having some luxury tonight as I'm staying at a Hilton Garden Inn. I spent the afternoon doing some website stuff and listening to a couple of documentaries I'd saved on iPlayer.

I left at 7.10pm for the 15 minute drive to the venue. Unfortunately I missed one turning and then things went from bad to worse! Three times I turned off at the Fort Lee junction to stop from driving over the George Washington Bridge into New York City! Each time I turned around but just couldn't work out which turning my SatNav was trying to get me to take! It would say "take the exit right" when there were two exits on the right! I eventually got to Englewood at 7.45pm (the gig started at 8pm) but thankfully found somewhere to park on the road quite quickly.

My seat was perfect! This venue allowed you to choose whereabouts you wanted to sit so I opted for the right side stalls (stage left) which is obviously Kasim's side. I also don't like the front row much so I sat in the second row seat right on the aisle. The seats sloped nicely, plus the woman in front of me was short, so I had a perfect view. However the woman (she was about late 40s) had obviously had a few drinks and did a lot of chair-dancing during the set, including kicking her legs up in the air a few times which was amusing!

The opening act played for about half an hour and then Todd Rundgren played for almost exactly 2 hours. There was an eleven o'clock curfew (which Todd mentioned a few times). Security was red-hot about people not taking photos and stopped anyone who tried but during the encore people stood at the stage and it was a free-for-all. Kasim was badly lit at that point so I didn't bother taking any.

Unfortunately I was really disappointed with the gig. I did know it was going to be Robert Johnson music and I knew that Todd was going to play some of his own songs that he hadn't played on stage before but there was a good reason why he hadn't played them before IMHO! The most popular songs were Open My Eyes and I Saw The Light and the reaction to those two songs was totally different to all the others. I do realise that he can't play Bang The Drum at every gig (and nor would I want him too) but I'd hoped for a more liberal sprinkling of his more popular songs in the set list (and Utopia songs).

I've been to over 70 Todd gigs and this is the one that impressed me the least, in fact I felt slightly bored by the end. I was planning on making a return trip to Japan when he plays there in October but if this is the set list, then I won't bother. Afterwards lots of people were saying that they enjoyed the gig but I did hear a few negative comments too.

However it was good to see Kasim in stage for a couple of hours and he looked very energetic and seemed to be enjoying himself, although both he and Jesse hardly sang any vocals in the set.

I got back to my hotel by 11.20pm and had a cuppa and got to sleep by 12.30am.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Waking up near JFK

I woke at 3am US time but managed to dose until 5am when I gave up trying to sleep any more and got up.

The Internet signal here is really good so I logged on and caught up a bit online. (I'd had a lovely email from Kasim too which was sweet.) They also do a really nice breakfast here too which was a nice surprise.

The mini-bus only runs on the half-hour to JFK (where I'm picking up my hire car) so, as I don't have much planned for today, I've booked on the 10.30am one. It's supposed to be about a 45 minute drive from JFK to my hotel so I'll stop on the way to stock up on my favourite US shampoo and have some lunch.

I'm really looking forward to the gig tonight - it seems ages since I saw Kasim even though it's only about six weeks!

The closet!

The view from my room!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Another Kasim / TR tour

It was an early start for me today as I'd decided to drive into work so that I can drive to Heathrow in case my flight is delayed on the return journey or I'd be cutting it quite fine for catching the last train home.

I work for an Artists' Management Company (we book concerts, TV etc for musicians) and thankfully they're very flexible about hours so I worked from 8am straight through to 3pm.
I left on time and it was supposed to have taken 31 minutes to get to Heathrow but, with it being the first day of a four day weekend (Easter) and roadworks, I didn't park by car until 4.20pm and I was on a 6.30pm flight! Thankfully the minibus driver drove us very quickly to the airport despite some heavy traffic in the area so it was 5.04pm when I checked in. I'm someone who likes to get to an airport 2-3 hours before my flight so I was a bit stressed, even more so when the machine wouldn't give me my boarding pass! Thankfully it was all sorted out quite quickly and security was quite empty so I made the gate in plenty of time.

I was on the American Airlines Heathrow to JFK 6.30pm flight which took off about half an hour late. It was very busy but I'd booked a window seat so I was okay. The food was decent enough and I just read and watched a couple of TV programmes because the person in front had their seat down so I couldn't use my laptop.

We landed about 45 minutes early at 8.45pm US time (1.45am body time). As I was near the front of the plane I managed to get through immigration quite quickly. They'll often give me the third degree (because I've been over here so much) but I got chatting to the guy about his tattoo so he was quite friendly and only asked how long I was staying.

I got to my hotel at 10.20pm. As I won't be here for long, I just booked a cheap Motel 8 (not that hotels near JFK are very cheap!). My room is basic but adequate. It's a basement room but the heating is good so that's okay. As I didn't feel tired I just watched something on iPlayer and got to sleep at about midnight.