Final Four

Yacht Rock had a pretty nice weekend of Final Four gigs lined up.  One good, one not so good.

Our Friday night gig was for coaches and athletic directors--lotta dudes.  Bonnie Bernstein was there interviewing people.  The gig was easy--two sets--and everybody there was really cool.  It was at Puritan Mill (great looking room) with Rick and Mark running sound (sounded good).  I think everybody in the band was in the mood to play, too, so the gig was really good and enjoyable, and I was home around midnight.  Yes!

Saturday was a mega gig--we were the opener for the big concert in Centennial Olympic Park.  Huge stage--the kind you see on the Palladia channel.  Biggest stage I've ever been on.  The big time!  It was us, then Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, then Ludacris, then Flo Rida, then Muse.  The crew loaded our gear from the trailer all the way to the stage.  Nice.  I went and set my coffee free in our dressing room trailer.

When we got there, they were sound checking bands in reverse order, so we waited and waited.  Finally we went and changed, and they were still trying to get the soundcheck for the other bands happening.  They let us setting up during the other guys' soundcheck.  Time was running out, and they hadn't dealt with our soundcheck or anything.

The gate across the park opened, and thousands and thousands of people came running at the stage.  It looked kind of like the Japanese tsunami videos.  Looks like we would do an awkward line check in front of twenty thousand people.

Once they finally started plugging our stuff in, things switched into overdrive, with the band and the monitor guy yelling and multiple instruments playing at the same time.  We never checked my keyboards or my saxophone (I found out later that I was completely inaudible on stage--which was maybe for the best).

And we're off!  There were lots of sound problems:  lots of feedback, insane monitor levels, microphones falling over, all kinds of trouble--a stagehand came over to Bencuya and wanted to unplug his keyboards mid-song because his levels were too hot.  When we got to L.A. Lindsay, there was no saxophone (and I knew there wouldn't be), so I had to play into Monkey's vocal microphone, which was blisteringly loud--just painful.  When the monitor guy caught on, he cranked that mic up in the side fills to the point where I could feel my ears buzzing--definite ear damage.  It hurt like somebody was jamming a screwdriver into my ear.  I made it through about four songs before I was completely miserable and watching the clock.  This gig couldn't have ended soon enough.

The sound was really tough and I played really poorly on top of that, in front of all those people.  What should have been one of our great triumphs turned into a soul crushing experience.  On the other hand, I heard that after the first few songs, the sound out into the park was good, so I guess it was only a mess on stage.

Lot of people out there.

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