Bryan Devendorf (drummer for The National, and soon-to-be dad) has once again documented a part of his life on the road for us (read his previous entries from 2007 and 2005). This time around, the Brooklyn-based band was back on tour with Arcade Fire—below is Devendorf's first dispatch from The Road, and we'll have more in the coming days. (Click through for photos and video that accompany the text.)

In the spring of 2007, The National opened some shows for Arcade Fire, which were chronicled for this site. Now, four years later, in a Nietzschean convergence of matter and possibility, here I go again—like some metaphysical Bad News Bear journeying a cross time and space toward the Houston Astrodome of his mind where he will perform before huge crowds for a shot at the title. Someday, maybe. Anyway, what follows is an attempt to replicate a tour diary that I never wrote while I was boozing it up in the Midwest last week during a last hurrah before becoming a daddy:

Day 1: Wednesday, April 20th
Starlight Theater
Kansas City, Mo.
Central Time Zone

Met the bus yesterday in Tulsa, 250 rolling miles south-southwest of our current location somewhere on the outskirts of Kansas City, in a parking lot full of tour buses and semis and broken technology. Weathered men in windbreakers shuffle past a tool shed crammed with old computer parts as I step off the bus. (The semis with their aggressively seductive cherry red cabs put me in mind of Maximum Overdrive, when all those trucks went haywire and collectively hunted Emilio Estevez.) Further afield, I see a pair of discarded Southwestern Bell phone booths lying side-by-side, gutted in the weeds, dandelions scattered around their carcasses like the debris of a yellow explosion. Someday, maybe two trees will grow upon this spot and their trunks will fuse into a single, living thing.

After finding catering and freshening up in the men’s locker room-style bathroom we’ll share among the twelve of us for the day, I hear the news: Matt has a broken toe. An X-ray confirms this and so Matt is hobbling around backstage, wearing on his injured foot an orthopedic shoe resembling a Birkenstock sandal crossed with a blue Kangaroos sneaker. (The fracture occurred when he made a misstep climbing out of his bunk on the bus. A humbling injury for a man I have seen clamber up speaker stacks with all the grace and agility of a jungle cat.) But the show must go on. It always does.

Matt opts not to wear the embarrassing ortho-sandal and makes it through the night in his boots, hopping frantically around the stage like he’s dancing on hot coals. Richie [of Arcade Fire] elevates things when he joins us on “Afraid of Everyone” and “Conversation 16”; I keep my head down and chug through “the hits” and try not to psyche myself out of what is becoming a decent show. Kyle Lewis, drum tech, has replaced the coated heads on my toms with clear pinstripes (a type of drum head that you’ll hear a lot on 80s fusion recordings. Think: Steve Gadd.). Tubby, warm, round, and huge-sounding, these are the heads I think will work for the jumbo-sized venues on this run. So I’m flush with that hammer-of-God feeling I get as I hit the floor tom to begin “Terrible Love.”

It’s thrilling to see Arcade Fire play again after all this time. I can’t help feeling a little sheepish and second-rate about our performance as they proceed to rock the shit out of the Starlight Theater. It’s like the Great Awakening. It’s like poking your head through a gap in the side of a tent and peering in at an old-time revival meeting in progress, only this time they have amps, flashing lights, and way better music.