The Long One

Saturday was a gig for some kind of big money fundraiser at the Ritz in Buckhead.  Strangely enough, we were not in the actual ballroom (where the dinner and the auction and the bulk of the evening's affairs were), but across the prefunction area in the smaller rooms, where the stage was almost too wide for the room.  I remember seeing Blue Lou Marini playing a wedding reception gig in this same room a few years ago.

Many, many gigs have I played at the Ritz--my guess would be at least 200 in the twenty years that I have played around Atlanta.  A few stand out to me--a Christmas Day brunch gig (that I played with Rob Henson and a horrible pianist), where we played for five hours and I think I was paid something like $150;  the other being a wedding where a woman had a heart attack and collapsed on the dance floor (while the band played She Works Hard for the Money)--the room was cleared of guests, but for some reason the musicians had to stay put on the stage and watch the paramedics attempt (unsuccessfully) to resuscitate her.

The loading dock at the Ritz, in addition to having the reputation notoriety of being one of the most foul smelling locations in wedding band history, is also one of the biggest pains in the ass in town.  You can only enter from one direction, up a hill, and then once you push past the odor, you have to go all the way down a hall and take an elevator up to the ballrooms.  It's a major drag when you have multiple loads of gear, and once you get it all in the room, then you have to leave the loading dock and find a place up in the lot (which means that at the end of the night when you reverse the process, you'll have to do a lap around Buckhead to get back to the dock on the one way road).  So...I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we could load in from the parking deck!  Waaaaaaaaay better.

The gig itself was, I think, the after party for the event.  We began at 10:30 PM and played til 1 AM, much later than any of our gigs in recent history.  It was pretty much a run of the mill event for us.  Along with the captain's hats at the door, there were around a hundred beach balls, most of which were targeted at the front line for a hour or so.  Eventually the focus shifted to shooting them into the chandeliers, thankfully.

Also, there was a lady who ran a microphone cable through her teeth;  I think it was meant to be seductive.  Gross.  She did it more than once.

I played like crap--mostly crappy saxophone.  The band food was pretty decent, and the load out was no problem at all.

I got home at 2:30 AM, twelve hours after I'd left.

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