Saturday began early for me (after a very late night coming home from Athens) with a wedding ceremony in Smyrna.  I picked this one up after one of my Sunday church gigs--my friend Graham played piano and sang, and I filled in the spaces around him.  It was fun!  Always a good hang with Graham.

From there, I had just barely enough time to run home, change clothes, eat lunch and head to the Variety Playhouse for Yacht Rock's annual Thriller show.  This was also the day of the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade, so everybody came screaming in right before the road was closed.

This turned out to be a very difficult gig.  For one thing, I'd definitely crammed too much stuff in a week (I ended up with 10 gigs in 9 days, plus 2 rehearsals).  There was pressure because it sold out.  Also, the Thriller show has never settled--every year we change some things (adding solos, etc) and shift harmony vocals.  Whereas the Purple Rain show feels consistent from year to year, this one always feels like we're doing it for the first time.  The cumulative effect is focused apprehension in front of a giant audience.

Also, we had a camera crew filming, and a pro photographer planted in front of Pete.  The camera shooting from behind me was a reminder of the post-gig scrutiny that would be happening.  The photographer in front made me extremely self-conscious of everything I did.

I think the crowd really enjoyed it, but if you asked anybody in the band (particularly in between sets), you'd have gotten a different story.  It was not fun experience.  I, for one, had pretty much given up on my career in music by the end;  mentally, I had finished drafting my resignation to the band.

Looking over the first set now, I'm not sure why I felt like that.  The only song that got the best of me was The Girl is Mine, and that was only because I totally blew my background vocal parts.  Playing-wise, it was fine.  There was definitely a heavy vibe between all of us, though.  We didn't enjoy any of the music.

photo cred:  Emily Butler Photography

The second set was a good bit more relaxed;  we all laughed a little bit more and played a little more.  The only song that bit me in the ass was Take On Me;  it's always the same chords, but a different order depending on where we are in the song.  It a Russian Roulette of A, C#minor, D, and F# minor.  I also played a great big wrong chord in Maniac, come to think of it.  I can live with all of that, though, because we had more fun.  First set, not so much.  By the time we'd finished the encore, I was more than ready to go home.

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