Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
"Hey. What's up, man?"
"Nothing. What's up with you?"
"I'm going to ask you a question. (Pause) And I know you're going to say yes."
Laughs. "Ok, what is it?"
"Can you play tomorrow?"
I kind of had a feeling that this would come my way. The universe is a really strange place. You see, I had taken several days off playing the guitar because my right hand had developed some pain. Naturally, a gig would become available. Especially one where 100% is required.
Rule #42: If thy hand hurts, never push it. There is a temptation to ignore what our body is telling us, the no pain no gain philosophy, and in terms of playing an instrument, this can do some serious damage. But there is always a quid pro quo, Clarice. Giving your hand time to heal is beneficial, but you lose your edge.
The place was packed and parking outside was really ridiculous. This is a very successful place. A great location, great service, nice atmosphere-it's a local blue blood hangout.
Local attorney wanted to impress his female companion by letting her hear "the hot guitarist." What am I, chopped liver? I let this pass because I know who is the star and I celebrate my friend's notoriety. He has been doing this gig for two years and I love playing with him. He makes playing so easy.
Yep, Big Red made it and even sat down right in front of us. Fly Me to the Moon was requested and a piano was mentioned. "Next time, I'm going to bring my piano!" What are you going to do, have a moving van pull up and load in your Steinway?
[Spot the Red. I have blurred the faces of her friends because I'm just cool that way.]
What's up with the piano thing for her? To quote my compadre, "I do not claim to have any insight into her thinking." Always a gentleman, that guy.
After the old vino had had its chance to work its magic, she started singing along with us. "Are the words written down?" Lucky for us, nay.
I must admit that The Red One was in some fine looking company. One attractive cougar was definitely making friendly with my friend and I thought I caught a wink. Yep. I'm sure I did. She came over and requested The Highway Man, a tune made famous by Willie and friends. "Do you know it?" Although I have heard it many times, it is not in my repertoire. Requests come out of left field all the time.
Some of repertoire is very unusual and our version of King Crimson's The Sheltering Sky is one of these oddities. The fact that we play it at all and people like it (or at least do not complain about it) is totally mystifying for me. When we started the groove on this one, Red was raising a ruckus. "Woohoo! What is this?" as she started dancing in her chair. Mademoiselle Rouge is very enthusiastic to understate the obvious.
After the statement of the theme in this long piece, certainly an odd thing unto itself, the solo section finally resolves into continuous 16th notes figures which go on forever. After this curious musical marathon, we got applause. Go figure.
One of Red's companions requested Mary Jane's Last Dance- a Tom Petty standard. We tore into that tune like hungry dogs. I think Ryan was a little shocked that, when the chorus came, I started singing it. Oh yeah. I likes me some Petty. Being the musician he is, he nailed the harmony right along with me. Can there be better pleasures? Nay, say I and all the court. It is truly fun after all the complex harmonies to come down to simple chord progressions. Nothing better.
We even did Walking On the Moon and The Bed's Too Big. I wouldn't say they were exactly polished versions, but the territory we are starting to cover is exciting to me. Jazz standards, not matter how wonderful, can all start sounding the same. Variety is key in my thinking. Key to a happy duet.
After over three hours without a break, we finally settle down to some food and beverage. Personally, I find I have to decompress a bit before I can enjoy my food. I feel like I've been doing laps on the Indy 500 and now have to drive through a residential area.
To my relief, we wrapped things up after dinner. It was past ten, time to break down and go home.
As we did the load out, I noticed the picture of my guitar mate prominently displayed by the entrance. I find it ironic that his place of employment finds it to be a good idea to have his picture up and yet it is something my place of employment finds so foreign. Pictures of our hosts on the web site? Nay.
It was a good night. Certainly for Madam Red and company. Certainly for us.
So, nothing left to do, but drive
namelessly, of course,
off the hill and straight home.