Crazy from the Heat

Quite a weekend for Yacht Rock gigs!

Saturday evening, we performed at the Georgia Theatre in Athens.  The theatre broadcasts the UGA games on a giant screen, so we loaded our gear in at half time and uncased most stuff, but couldn't set up and soundcheck until after the game. No big deal, but it made for a pretty long wait.  I think we finally hit the stage around 10:30 PM to a crowd of just under eight hundred.

The first couple of songs were fine, but Maneater was third, and my saxophone and I weren't quite ready.  I had a key stuck shut (which I wasn't aware of), which caused me to play a wrong note at the beginning.  The solos had the right notes, but my reed was soft and misaligned, I was out of tune, and I pinched the reed shut a couple of times (so there was no sound).  In addition to my equipment problems, I'm getting into the bad habit of putting too much lower lip in my mouth, making the pinching even worse.  It only seems to manifest itself on tenor.

On down the line...I learned a new vocal harmony part for Sister Golden Hair that Dustin sang on the gigs he did with us in the midwest, but nobody on stage heard it except Mark Cobb.

Band on the the orchestral section that bridges the second and third parts of the song, Bencuya, Dannells, and I are playing the same part, but we got off (I was ahead of them).  Oops.

The rest of the gig was fine.  We played Takin' it to the Streets as the encore.  Same kind of embouchure-caving-in problem.  I'm also overblowing like crazy.  My saxophone playing in the band sucks real bad right now.

As soon as the gig ended, a line of thunderstorms blew into Athens.  It looked like we were going to load out in a monsoon, but it let up enough for us to get out.  We spent the night at a hotel in Duluth so we could make it to our next gig comfortably.

Sunday afternoon, we performed before the big NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on a great big stage in the winner's circle.  Biggest room we've ever played!  Our performance was scheduled for 5:30 PM, but we loaded in before noon, which meant that all our gear sat in direct sunlight for hours.  I was not thrilled.  Some stuff (guitars, saxophones, my laptop and EWI) stayed under the stage in the shade.  Sun and musical instruments do not mix.  After we checked everything, the sound company loaned us some speaker covers to cover the amps and keyboards, which I think helped quite a bit.  We should've planned better and brought tarps.

the only shade on stage

our gear, moments before it burst into flames

photo courtesy of Peter Olson

While we were sound checking, they were taking VIPs on rides around the track, right past the stage at about a hundred miles an hour.  Crazy to see cars zipping by right off the front of the stage!

The late night Saturday plus the heat made us pretty miserable.  We passed the time in a tent in a parking lot, trading the direct sunlight for no air circulation.  The catered food of pot roast and vegetables was terrible (and cold).  Still not happy!

It got over a hundred degrees that afternoon, so most of us got in the van and cranked the air conditioning.  It didn't take too long before we were sound asleep--I bet that looked weird!  Five us in the van, totally passed out, with the motor running.

potty break

The gig itself was no big deal.  We were still in the sun, but it was only an hour.  We played after the BMX stunt riders and Dave Smith, the human cannonball.  He survived.  It's hard to say how big the audience was or what they thought of us.

the adjusted set list

Same kind of tenor embouchure problems.  Also, we haven't played Ride Captain Ride in a long time.  I have only a vague recollection of my part in the introduction.  It sounded like it, too.  Multiple wrong notes.

A few random shots of the scene:

photo courtesy of Peter Olson
I was very happy when we finally headed for home.

In other news, we did the ALS ice bucket challenge with our own twist.  I am obviously the weak link when it comes to chugging beer.

Here's a video of Bumpin' the Mango (with a high school kid sitting in on trumpet) playing Superstition the night I subbed with them.

Dave Ellington and I played JCT Kitchen Thursday evening.  Here are a couple of videos of that:

You can catch Dave and I this Friday night at Sun in my Belly in Decatur (2161 College Ave NE, Decatur, GA 30317) between 7 and 9 PM.

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