Disappointment In Dubuque

Saturday October 8th, 2011 – Dubuque, IA

The gig in Dubuque this weekend is exactly how I remembered it – above average on all levels but one. Attendance could have been better, but what live event of any kind besides a Wall Street protest rally can get people to show up in one place at one time these days?

Drawing a crowd for any reason isn’t easy. It just isn’t. No matter how I slice it or try to work around it, I’m still not a household name and until that changes I’m at the mercy of the fates as to whether anyone will show up when I’m performing. It keeps me humble, to the point of wondering if I’ll ever get that elusive rabid loyal fan base I’ve always wanted.

It wasn’t the venue’s fault. The gig is at a casino/dog track complex and it‘s well run all around as far as I can see. They put us up in a Hilton hotel attached to the facility, so once I check into my room I can get anywhere I need to be without having to step outside for a single second for any reason. I could have laid around for the entire day had I chosen to.

I didn’t choose that, as the weather was as picture perfect as it gets and I did not want to waste even a single ray of that wonderful sunshine. I know it won‘t last long around these parts, and it was a soothing sun soaked scenario as I took my walk from the hotel into the heart of downtown Dubuque for exercise. It must have been about three miles one way.

Dubuque is a pretty town, even though I know I’d go completely nuts in about a week if I had to live here. It’s right on the Mississippi River, but there‘s not much to do. It’s not a large city, and there‘s not one nearby. Madison, WI is about 80 miles away, but that‘s not close enough. That’s probably why they built the casino. It gives the people a destination.

I was drenched in sweat as I found my way to a street I’d recalled from a previous visit that has all kinds of resale and pawn shops on it. I took a lap through a few of them and it was nothing like Pawn Stars on TV. There weren’t any one of a kind priceless artifacts to admire – just shelves of DVDs, used tools, jewelry and musical instruments up the wazoo.

I walked into one of the second hand shops when a couple in their 50s was walking out who had seen the show last night and reacted as if I was Elvis walking around downtown Memphis. They told me how funny they thought I was, then the husband asked me why I wasn’t famous. I shrugged. He didn’t mean anything by it, but unfortunately he’s correct.

Tonight was even better than last night, but there were still some empty seats in the 300 seat show room. I commented that only Mr. Lucky could headline a show that didn’t have any cover charge whatsoever, and still not be able to pack the joint. It got a nice big laugh but from a business position I’m not laughing at all. It feels like I missed the career boat.

What do I have to do to have packed houses with fans who are there to see me? I’ve put forth a campaign for over a quarter of a century, yet I still haven’t managed to find a way to sell any tickets. It’s SO disappointing, but all I can do is keep working. Those who did come out were great laughers. I just wish they would’ve been there to see me on purpose.


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