One Night Stands

Last week...another week of airplanes, van rides, gear issues, and special shows...and work! We are still gigging hard, but it looks to be slowing down slightly to a more manageable pace. Last week, however, was kind of nuts.

Tuesday: I was making great time on the way to pick up Nick and Bencuya, as we normally carpool to the airport. Suddenly, traffic came to an abrupt halt just south of Moores Mill. Why?

Not good. All lanes blocked. I was definitely not going to make the carpool--maybe I wouldn't even make my flight! The last three miles to Nick's house were projected to take fifty-one minutes. Terror radiated from my body.

After a half hour of sitting/freaking out, the "police activity" cleared, and the traffic sped a way like the start of the Daytona 500.

Average speed on the Connector through town:

Whew! Made the flight.

The camera crew was along for this trip. More documentary footage!

Our first gig of the week was a corporate party in a restaurant in Miami Beach. I had a lot of trouble paying attention on this one.

Before the gig, Matt (who drove our gear to Miami and back), Kip, and I went for a quick walk. The weather was immaculate.

Here's our crazy dressing room.

Anyway...the gig was...kind of mindless. Music after dinner for maybe a hundred people on a Tuesday night, with the band jammed up against a wall. A good snapshot of the night would be the penny whistle (piccolo) solo on Call Me Al, where I tried (out of boredom) to add little flourishes and curlycues and suddenly messed myself up so badly that I couldn't finish the solo.

Post gig, we sat shoulder to shoulder for a quick group interview with the film crew, which made the night that much longer.

Wednesday: This evening's gig was in Florence, Indiana. From Miami, we flew back to Atlanta (because everything connects through Atlanta when you fly Delta), and then out to Cincinnati (where the airport is actually across the river in Kentucky). So...Miami to Atlanta to Kentucky to Indiana (via Cincy). Got it.

the Atlanta layover
 This gig was a corporate party kind of thing (I'm familiar) at a casino in Indiana.

The view from my cigarette stained room. Unimpressive! That's Ohio over there in the trees, by the way.

Giant adirondack chair. Impressive!
 The golf course was at least scenic (and didn't reek of cigarettes). Nice weather.

So...the gig...significantly better for me than Miami, in spite of the horrible Nord Electro 2 that showed up for me. Boo. I missed my keyboard.

This one at least ended pretty early, giving me plenty of down time in my stinky hotel room. For the life of me, I can't understand why I didn't just go and ask for a different room. I bet you can't either.

Thursday: Back to Cincy/Kentucky for the flight back to Atlanta so that we could bang out another gig. Not on this plane, however.

Thursday's gig was a corporate party/reception kind of thing at Venkman's. Nice to be back on our home turf, with our gear. Pretty painless--two sets, and then we could pack the gear back up and go home.

Friday: Purple Rain in Piedmont Park time. We've finally played this album enough that it's not a huge burden to bring it back to the front of our brains. Due to the moderately insane schedule of these two weeks, our only chance to rehearse was...last week. This should be interesting.

One exciting thing: I've been playing synthetic reeds on this gig for several years. Both of my saxophones might possibly sit for an entire set, and then be called upon to work perfectly, and regular cane reeds don't do that well.

I've been using reeds by a Japanese company named Forestone, and they've served me pretty well. My main complaint is that they are wildly inconsistent in terms of relative strength and longevity, and at $20 a reed, that ain't too cool.

The major player in the synthetic reed arena is Legere. They're more expensive (almost $30 a reed!), which makes it much more difficult to trial-and-error several different reed strengths to find the one that fits me. But my relationship with the damn Forestone reeds was in dire straits, so I blew around a $100 on three reeds.

First one...right out of the a player! 2 and 3/4 was a little hard, but totally playable. 2 and a half feels great. I think I'm sold.

On to the gig...all set up in the big tent in Piedmont Park. We took the stage just after 8 PM. Bencuya's top keyboard died (really just the screen, we think, but because he couldn't see any information on the screen, he couldn't locate any sounds). Disaster! Where's ol' Roland Tech Support when you need her?

Fortunately, one of our crew guys, Kip, sprang into action, calling the local backline company to immediately replace the busted synth, and then had another friend deliver it to the park. All the while, we did our best to avoid songs in the first set that needed the dead instrument. Miraculously, we faked a whole set. Bencuya's head almost exploded.

We took a long intermission, and once the replacement arrived and booted up, we were on our way through Purple Rain. Most of the people in attendance had no idea what had happened. Good thing we had a film crew standing by to capture the terror.

Saturday: One more gig. We drove to Savannah for another corporate dinner party. Pretty relaxed after the previous night's tension convention.

Things ended at 9:30 PM. Nice! Party time in Savannah? Hell no. We had individual hotel rooms (with SUPER SHITTY wifi--what is this, 2006?). I was in the bed before midnight. Dig it.

This week...relative calm. A corporate shindig Thursday night in Atlanta, and then a private party in Connecticut. See y'all at the airport.

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