Yacht Rock continued our crazy string of gigs with a wedding Sunday night in Athens. Friend of the band Ben Allen (producer/engineer/studio guy) hired us to play the reception at his parents' home in Athens, GA. You (if you were a wedding band) couldn't have asked for an easier reception. We backed the trailer up to the back of the stage; loaded in; soundchecked; hung out/drank/eventually ate; played what we wanted, and ended at 11 PM. Easy easy easy gig, and some familiar faces that made it feel less like a job and more like a party with our friends. Yay Ben!
It was mostly the usual Yacht Rock stuff--some 70s, some 80s. We did throw in a few funkier songs for the dancers. Dig it:
Use Me (Athens) by David B Freeman
My alto was really out of tune. I don't think I like what I played, but the band sounded funky. And what a great time to play a couple of wrong notes right as I go into the solo. Hmm. Not too good there. Everybody else sounds good, though.
Kiss (Athens) by David B Freeman
On Kiss, I thought I would play tenor so that I didn't play the same solo twice. Then I thought that when it went to the four chord, I'd instead go up a half step from the one…so for me B9 to C9, instead of B9 to E9. Not a good call. Sounded gross. Now I know. Take it from me: don't do that.
Plus, holy crap. Dannells slaughtered me. Not a good time to experiment.
We learned You Are So Beautiful (Greg Lee sang the hell out of that) and Sleepwalk (Dannells played the hell out of that). Very cool. My contribution was some strings on You Are So Beautiful. I'd give my self an A- on that--I got most of it. I didn't play any wrong notes, but I wasn't terribly relaxed. I omitted a few things.
The band ended up staying at the Hotel Indigo in Athens. I highly recommend it. Very nice accommodations. We were pretty wiped out--I think everybody crashed hard. Good thing, too, because we were up at 7 AM to head back to Atlanta to play at the Braves game.
Playing at the Braves game doesn't pay any money, but it is one of the coolest opportunities EVER. We were invited to not only play a concert ON THE FIELD!! after the game, but we also had the chance to sing the National Anthem. How cool is that? Very.
We set up on the humungous stage in the tunnel under the centerfield stands.
We went out on the field and practiced the Anthem.
|it looks like Bobby Dews is trying to get away from Greg and me|
Back in the tunnel we went to finish setting up and soundchecking (and get out of the sunlight). At some point in setting up my equipment, I suffered a massive heart attack and died. Remember how my Fantom (top keyboard) was doing that thing where it wanted me to save over and over again? I was checking things out, and the sounds would sustain uncontrollably. NOT TODAY! NO!!! NOT TODAY?!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!!!!!!!!!! (sounds that would be echoed by Mark Dannells in a few short hours). Also, my volume pedal was not working. It wouldn't change the volume.
After I finished dying, it dawned on me that the volume pedal was causing my Fantom to sustain. I flipped out again. WHY IS MY KEYBOARD SO SCREWED UP?! IT WORKED FINE LAST NIGHT!!!! WHY TODAY?!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought the "brain" of keyboard had completely failed. My Fantom was trashed.
Then…a light bulb. More like a flat foot in the…anyway, it turned out that I had the volume pedal plugged in where the sustain should be, and the sustain plugged into the volume jack. Flipped 'em around: problem solved; disaster averted; funeral postponed.
The view from our suite:
We went up to our suite and hung out/ate/hydrated. Right before 1 PM, we went down and sang the National Anthem. We went out and took our positions on the field. Somebody gave us some sort of cue, and we started singing…
Oh say can you see
and I'm thinking "Oh shit! They forgot to turn on our microphones!"
By the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed
and then the PA announcer said something like, "And now, would you please rise as we salute or fallen soldiers with a moment of silence." Oops. We weren't supposed to sing yet. Maybe nobody heard us.
A couple of minutes later, we got the cue, sang the National Anthem with it reverberating around the stadium like a pinball. Cool. We sang well. Once we got back in the tunnel, there was lots of laughing and "What the hell happened?"
Up to the suite. I hung out with my family. Jack ate a bunch of chicken fingers, drank a Sprite, ate half a bag of cotton candy, and threw up. Big day!
In the eighth inning, we went back to the tunnel to check out stuff. I got my things set and sat down--I'd decided to ride the stage out to the field. It bounces quite a bit, and I wanted to make sure none of my stuff fell. We were waiting to go out, and the game went into extra innings. I practiced saxophone--trying in vain to keep my reeds somewhat hydrated.
|tip money from the audio crew|
The rest of the band came out and we played our set. We had some technical difficulties. Dannells had a bad cable that silenced his entire rig for about a song or two (fortunately we had an extra amp on stage). Bencuya and I could barely see the screens on the keyboards--all the crystals in the LCDs came to the top and blacked out the screens. Yikes! It was fun, though, and once we got rolling, I think it sounded pretty good. Here's the first tune (you can hear Hans dialing stuff in as the song progresses). That's me on synth and strings, my man Bencuya on piano. Check out how loud I am in the mix. You can hear my parts! Totally awesome.
What a Fool Believes (Turner Field) by David B Freeman
Some time later on in the set we did Taking it to the Streets. A diarrhea-of-the-tenor-saxophone kind of solo. Not my best work. The camera was on me and I couldn't convince myself to leave any space in my solo, and I just kind of pentatonically spewed BS. I tried to sell it with body language, but as far as ideas, not really happening.
My parents saw Yacht Rock for the first time ever. I could see them up in the suite watching us. I bet my dad thought, "We paid out of state tuition for your degree in woodwind performance, and you picked up a saxophone twice during the entire show!"
Did I mention it was very easily hotter than hell? Wow. Super hot. Not a good day to wear a wig. Or a plastic shirt. Or pants.
|nobody in the stands, but the Vistalites look awesome!|
|Oops. Jumbotron camera man got me.|
My home team (one for the road):