Testing

We were tested with these gigs!  A local Atlanta gig, then a cross country flight with a late night gig, a flight back across the country, and then a gig with a bunch of music that we don't see very often.  It hurts my brain.

Wednesday:  Corporate event at The Tabernacle in Atlanta.

Hat of The Great Bencuya
The Tabernacle is a really amazing place to perform, and I must say that I like everything about it, from the loaders who dragged our gear in to the size of the stage to the sound of the room to the backstage accommodations.  The audience was pretty fired up for a Wednesday night, which was super cool, and my in ear mix sounded like the frickin' radio (I mean that in a good way)--very clear, and everything was perfectly balanced.  Plus, I was on a riser, so I didn't feel like I was hiding behind the guitar amp.  We finished early, and I was home by maybe 10:30.  Everything about this gig was fantastic, including side-boob girl, who danced in front of Pete and Monkey for most of the second set.  Hats off to you.


Friday:  Corporate event in Tucson, Arizona.

Fly dates are not my favorite, by virtue of the fact that I have a ton of gear to carry.  Even after checking a bag and a Pelican box of gear, I still am loaded down like a paratrooper at the gate--two saxophones in gig bags plus a backpack.  Every trip stressful until I can get my horns and bag stowed.


We flew a few hours, arriving in the desert around lunch time.  The resort where we stayed had a nice restaurant, so we ate there and then caught a quick nap before set up/soundcheck time.


So...Mardi Gras themed party in Arizona with a late 70s/early 80s band out of Atlanta?  OK!


This gig was not as great as the Tabernacle gig, but it wasn't anything too difficult.  I was given a Nord Stage for my bottom keyboard, and I always enjoy trying to figure out how to make it do what I want.  Too bad they're so damn expensive--I'd love to have one!  Because it's a weighted action keyboard, playing piano and rhodes is really much more comfortable than the springy action of a Nord Electro.  Then again, somebody else had to carry this monster in and out of here (Electro=18 lbs;  Stage=36 lbs)!

The only thing that was really tough (to me) about this gig was the hours.  Due to the time zone, we played from midnight to 3 AM east coast time.  Ouch.  Around 2:15 AM, I really started dragging.


The desert and the resort were beautiful.  Too bad it was 107 degrees that afternoon!  I would have liked to have gone for a walk, but the heat and my fatigue from traveling were too much.  If we'd only had one more day to acclimate to the time change, I would've made an attempt to get out and see more.


The hill right outside my room.


You can make a plastic cup out of corn.  I dig that.


Friday:  Travel day.

My breakfast of champions:  medium coffee and three bananas.


We took an early afternoon flight out, so following lunch at the airport, it was off to Huntsville, AL via Atlanta.


The skies were clear, which made for some pretty great pictures.









We landed in Atlanta in the early evening.



Live saxophone in the Atlanta airport!  I didn't recognize this guy, playing some smooth jazz over tracks.


The flight from Atlanta to Huntsville was humorously short.  Lots of jokes--will they even both pulling up the landing gear?  I think take off to touch down was thirty minutes.

Saturday:  80s Concert in Huntsville, Alabama.

We played at the space center last year (you can read about it here).  They wanted to kick it up a notch, so we brought the big dudes.


A passing thunderstorm looked pretty mean, so we tarped our gear.  It didn't amount to much.  I'm sure that if I hadn't brought a tarp, we would have washed away.  Hiding from the rain ate up a chunk of time, so I guess it was a good thing that only Jeff Carlisi and Bill Champlin came to soundcheck (in all fairness, we've played enough shows with Robbie that there was no need to check his stuff).


This is how Zach tunes a guitar.





One more special guest not on the show poster:  Larry B Scott, who was in the movie Space Camp (filmed right here in Huntsville!), but who is probably more famous for his role as Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds.  It sounds like he does the rap from Revenge of the Nerds every time he's on a stage with a microphone, so we quickly worked up the music that accompanies him.  I was given Poindexter's violin part.


Unfortunately, Larry didn't seem to care that we'd figured it all out, and he launched into the rap without heeding our arrangement.  We played the parts, but some of it ran over his lyrics.  It's unfortunate--capturing it on film would have been a social media bonanza.


Here's the spot from the movie:



Anyway...

I don't have anything to do on two of Jeff Carlisi's .38 Special songs, so I took some pictures.




With the exception of Robbie, we don't play with any of these guests regularly, so learning and remembering all of their stuff felt like a near endless progression of first dances--I know how this one goes, but I am by no means comfortable.  Add to it a handful of charts that I was reading, and trying to remember when (and how much) to transpose my keyboards, and I was a little fried by the time we finished.  The whole night felt a bit sloppy and tentative for me.

My only really epic failure came at the beginning of the second set.  I'd preset my stuff for Danger Zone, but we did the Revenge of the Nerds rap right before it.  I'm always very paranoid about missing the beginning of PYT, and as Larry finished up his spot on stage, I suddenly overlooked Danger Zone and frantically reset all my stuff for PYT.  Then realizing that I'd skipped a song, I had to frantically set all my stuff back to Danger Zone.  Got it?  I was stupid.  I missed some of the beginning and then butchered some of the middle, and then I had to stop playing altogether (which I'm not supposed to do) because I forgot to pick up my horn for the sax solo at the end.  Not my best moment.

For what it's worth, I was solid on PYT.

The shows this weekend are in Atlanta--Friday at Park Tavern and Saturday at Venkman's.  Both are Yacht Rock.  Neither involve a trip to the airport.

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