Buffalo, N.Y.—If it’s Friday, it must be Buffalo, where we visit the stately Statler City hotel and the DJs play its ballroom. It went like this:
2:00 p.m.: I wake up in Buffalo with Neneh Cherry in my head. I use “wake up” loosely, because again, I hardly slept. Still, I’m happy. And being in a situation like this makes me realize how laid-back I am.
“It’s like camping!” Markus says. Yeah, camping on a luxury bus…. OK, maybe we’re princesses. But laid-back princesses. Yes, I just called Markus a princess. But he earns some manliness by wrestling with the closet door that got jammed shut by shifting luggage after another bumpy night on the road. Well done, sir.
2:15 p.m.: Someone pops in and tries to sell “gold” chains to the bus driver. “They’re real, man—14 karat.”
“14-karat electrical plate,” driver laughs back.
4:00 p.m.: Frank Sinatra randomly starts playing while we’re at our lunch catering in just one of many very old, beautiful yet creepy rooms in America’s first hotel with running water. (Beginning in the early 20th Century, Statler was the first U.S. hotel chain with a bathroom in every room.) But, we definitely feel like we’re on an episode of “Ghost Hunters”….
In fact, they were taping an episode here within the last few months! So, of course, we take a detour before departing and venture up some off-limits, pitch-dark, dilapidated stairs to another floor, and explore the abandoned rooms with trepidation. There are innumerable rooms in this tower, and every turn seems to elicit an ooh, ahh or eek! I’m mostly amazed that the building is still standing, because it is the sketchiest thing I’ve ever seen… Just wait for the documentary. I know that as a writer, I’m supposed to paint a picture with words, but there is tour work to do, and I simply don’t have the time to describe this incredible place!
5:30 p.m.: Now we’re at Niagara Falls. “The number of people who go over the falls every year is alarming,” our driver explains. We stock up on warmer clothes at stores on the way there, because we hadn’t packed for this 40-degree, wet weather that has been following us around the northeast. So far, every day on the tour, we’ve heard: “It was warm and spring-like—until you got here.”
6:30 p.m.: We return to Statler for dinner catering. I feel like I was just here… Except, instead of delicious tuna salad and fruit, Chophouse has provided us with delicious salmon and steamed broccoli, as well as delicious miniature pecan pies, which I suspect contain crack. Yum.
8:00 p.m.: We get a “Bus Talk” from our tour manager regarding the bathrooms… But it’s off the record, so, I can’t tell you.
We’re on our third city, and people are starting to loosen up. Either that, or delirium is quickly setting in. Personalities are coming out. I’ve met more of the crew from the other mystery bus, just in time to be thrown on there for the next ride.
9:00 p.m.: Over to the venue, where cocktail waitresses in heels are frantically moving furniture back into the ballroom, transitioning from this afternoon’s charity event to ours.
10:00 p.m.: Doors.
12:30 a.m.: Markus takes the stage. Hands and cameras and screams and confetti fill the air, but the visuals have a momentary hiccup. Like tour manager said earlier, “I just want everything to go right, for once…”
“Like, you know Markus Schulz…. You’re lucky.”
The merch table is not a trash can.
The bathroom stall is not a clown car.
1:15 a.m.: I go to a balcony to snap pics of Markus and my camera starts having a mind of its own, taking pictures without me touching it, adding effects that weren’t really there… Yep, haunted hotel! I return to merch and phone home about the paranormal activity, and as I’m telling the tale, the banner crashes down behind me. Get me out of here!
2:30 a.m.: “Thanks so much, Buffalo! I’ve waited two long years to come back here… And now, I leave you in the very capable hands of one of my favorite DJs and producers right now—KhoMha.” It’s the first night that the lineup was switched around; tonight goes two hours later than the others had.
3:45 a.m.: Markus is resting on the bus while KhoMha drives the night home. He’s studying a Rush documentary in preparation for his own, which will be based around this very tour. KhoMha and I pack an overnight bag and head to the other bus, where M Machine file me in on their exploration of the hotel, and nearly being trapped in the basement with rubble and an empty pool, when their phones all died—even the one with 30-percent battery life. “When we got back to lobby level, it turned back on. I don’t believe in ghosts… But something happened.”
- Sarah Gianetto