More Travel Tales

Another week of traveling and gigging! Here we go.

Wednesday: I travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina with our second band, the Yacht Rock Schooner, for a gig at the National Whitewater Center. There's a huge rock climbing wall and long zip lines, but the main attraction is the giant manmade river where kayakers, rafters, and olympic hopefuls come to train. Pretty cool.

Greg Lee and I were filling in for the usual guys on the gig, who are led by Greg's brother Ganesh. I only played sax and flute, so I tried to keep busy singing any background vocals I could handle. It feels strange to not play my keyboard parts that fit around the sax and flute parts.

The gig was for web designers (their job was to take news stories and format them for news websites). There looked to be a couple of hundred of them. Unfortunately, the bar was approximately one hundred fifty yards to the right of the stage (down river!), so other than a painful few moments when they were all forced to come and stand in front of the stage for some remarks, we had less than a dozen in the audience. Ouch! Maybe they were all listening from afar...

 Thursday: Greg and I took the shuttle to the Charlotte airport, where we caught a flight to Atlanta. At the Atlanta airport, we met up with the rest of the Yacht Rock Revue, and boarded the plane to Chicago.

Our first show of this run was at Joe's on Weed Street, a place we know well, having played here numerous times.

Before the doors had even opened, I was in trouble--I guess I'd bent a key on my alto (the low D) when I was packing my gear for this trip. In trying to diagnose the problem, I accidentally knocked a cork out from under an adjustment screw on another key. After a quick phone call to my repairman, I bent the key back to its correct position and screwed in the adjustment screw to compensate for the cork that was lost. Greeeeaaaaat.

How would this one go? We hadn't played a Yacht Rock gig in twenty-six days. The answer? NOT WELL! I, for one, spent the first third of the gig desperately trying to catch up--I remembered my parts, but everything needed a extra ninety seconds to line up in my brain. I was miserable. I wanted to quit and fly home that night.

It took almost until intermission for me to find my groove again.

That being said, over 500 people on a Thursday night is not too shabby! We'll take it. Next time we come through Chicago, we'll be at the House of Blues, and I am already pumped about that.

photo cred: Andrew Costello via Twitter
Friday: I slept with Greg again. In the same room, I mean.

Northern Indiana--lots of nothing, which is its own kind of beautiful.


Our show at The Vogue in Indianapolis sold out the week before, I believe. It feels like we are hometown heroes.

Indy was a kick ass show! Completely different from our rusty Chicago gig. Just that quickly, we were back to our usual standards.

The video from our Facebook Live broadcast is nothing great to watch--the camera is having trouble locking in, but the audio is spot on. Another great mix by our crew of Kip and Zach!

Saturday: After the show, the van and trailer headed south. We slept for a few hours in a hotel in Indy and then caught a REEEEAAAAAALLLY early flight to Chattanooga (once again with a layover in Atlanta!). The van and trailer caught up to us after lunch (and another nap).

This day's gig was in the historic Engel Stadium. I think this one may have been part of a summer concert series or something. 

Unfortunately, rain was in the forecast. The opening band was to play around 7 PM, and we were to begin at 8 PM.

We barely got any kind of soundcheck in before the rain interrupted us.

Future radar on the Weather Channel app said we were going to get nailed around 7:15.

So...the opening band (Jason D. Williams) started up, and they were fantastic. Kind of a Jerry Lee Lewis thing, but the piano player was CRUSHING IT.

A few songs into their set (let's say 7:15!), however, the sky opened up. That was the end of that. They tarped everything. Once it was clear that this was no passing shower, the local crew helped the openers pack up and split.

We waited and waited and it poured, and then the lightning started, and the sky continued to unload on the diamond. It seemed really obvious to all of us that the gig was not going to happen, but we hung around until it became official.

Since we weren't able to play anything from the stage, we ended up doing a forty-five minute set in the stands, where I attempted to add saxophone parts and solos to several songs that required neither. Not my best playing.

photo cred: Mark A. Herndon
 After that, we waded back out to the stage and packed our gear.

I think more rain came through after we'd escaped--we drove through a good bit more on our way back to Atlanta. Home by 12:30 AM. We survived!

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