by {{Bob Smiley}}, courtesy of {{Christian Musician}}

The {{Newsboys}}' "Love Liberty Disco 2000 Traveling Air Dome Can We Make The Name Of This Tour Any Longer" Tour went very well. Oh sure, the Newsboys made me wear a solid-white disco suit that, along with my bleached blonde hair, makes me look like a used Q-tip. And when I got on stage, the cameras started flashing like I was in an '80s dance club-uh, not that I have ever been in a dance club, Mom. The sad thing is that I know these pictures will come back to haunt me ten years from now when I am running for Mayor of Squatville, TX. The guy running against me will win based on a platform of "At least I never dressed like that!" So if you are one of those people with pictures of me in this horrible Kid-Rock-meets-Conan-O'Brian outfit, do me a favor: burn them! Go burn them now! The rest of us will wait. I won't write for a moment. You won't miss anything. Go now! (Instrumental music here.) There. Thanks. I feel much better now.

So the tour was going great. Oh sure, we had our usual crazy runner problems. There are two definitions of a runner, depending on whom you ask. If you ask us, a runner is the guy that volunteers to drive us to and from the hotel. If you ask the runner, he is a guy about to get his big break in the music business. Note the following daily conversation:

Me: "Good morning! Are you our runner today?"

Runner: "Yes, but I'm also in a band. I play the bagpipes! I brought a demo tape. Here, I'll play it for you."

Also, most runners are direct descendants of Christopher Columbus-with the same geography skills.

Runner: "I found the Holiday Inn!"

Me: "Great, but we were looking for the Days Inn."

Runner: "Well, I got the inn part right! Oh shhh, this next song I play really rocks. I'll turn it up!"

I must tell you about one particular runner. To protect his identity I'll refer to him as "Mr. Tago." Let's call him "Miles Tago." Miles picked us up in something van-shaped. I actually considered getting a tetanus shot before crawling in the back (the Newsboys make me ride in the back to "watch their luggage.") The runner then informed us he was a harmonica player. He then pulled out of the parking lot-going the wrong way down a one-way street-wailing on his harmonica. It was obvious to us there was a reed or two missing, not to mention that the harmonica didn't sound too good either. We informed him he was going the wrong way by pointing out the cars speeding by and honking at us on both sides of the van. He, still playing "Oh My Darling," slammed on the breaks, backed up over a curb and into a tree. The Newsboys instantly asked me if everything was okay. I told them I was fine. They said they meant their luggage. The guy turned around and we then sped off the right way to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine."

We also stumbled across the perfect runner in San Luis Obispo. His name was Steve and he will always be the best in my mind. Note the following conversation:

Steve: "Good afternoon! Want to go straight to the hotel?"

Me: "Uh, yes sir."

(5 minutes of silence)

Me: "Don't you sing or play in a ba-"

Steve: "Sorry to interrupt, but we are at the hotel. I took a short cut. By the way Bob, I read that you liked coffee. There's an awesome coffee shop near here. I can take you when you are ready."

In a moment of insanity I actually proposed to him, making us both uncomfortable (me, only because he said "no").

Other than some crazy runners, the tour was perfect. Well, come to think of it, there was one night when one of our crew guys got sick and I volunteered (see: was told) to sit in the spotlight chair, which happens to hang about thirty feet in the air. They strapped me to a small chair (it was about as comfortable as sitting on the knobby end of a baseball bat) and hoisted me up in the air. I then looked down in horror (see: Grand Canyon), and became very grateful that the seat I was in was ultra-absorbent. Other than that scary experience, the tour rocked!

A couple of other odd things have happened too. In Owensboro, Kentucky, both of my fans brought Chic-O-Sticks and threw them at me onstage, responding to an article I wrote about the horrible tasting Chic-O-Stick being the official candy bar in Hell (hey, it's not quite the thousands of fans who bring Captain Crunch to the Newsboys show, but it's a start). Also, to the girls that threw the Chic-O-Sticks: lofting them gently is much more clever than hurling them like a spear! The bruises are good conversation starters.

The other strange thing that happened was when the Newsboys "accidentally" locked me in the luggage bay under the bus for a few hours. I could tell they felt bad about it, though, by the way one of them said, "Oops, sorry Bob. Could you hand me my suitcase: the one on top of your left leg there. Yeah, thanks. Bye."

So aside from all that, the tour ran smoothly. The Newsboys put together an entertaining, encouraging and amazing tour. The crowds were great and I had a blast. In fact, this is the best tour I have ever been on (unless one of the Supertones is reading this. In that case, the Newsboys made me write that. Your tour was way better, except for when you guys "accidentally" locked me in the bay under your bus.)

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