Friday, January 01, 2010

To the Decade's End

There were signs that this New Year's gig was going to be a big deal. But let's back up, ok?

On Weds, the owner walked right up to der guitarmeister and informed him, sans any salutary greetings, that he wanted him "to start right at five o'clock." Li-Li was playing with him that night and heard this conversation which she interpreted as being slightly on the brusque side. Is management getting itchy? Word had it that some 90 people had reservations. 90 people? Oh dear! Oh my!

[Laid back revelers and the sacred pale ale]

I rolled in late to pick up some charts. Sat at the bar and got a pale ale on draft. Delightful and with enough nourishment and kick to make blue bloods bearable. Evidently, the freak parade was in full swing with a headbanded character at the bar staring at the entertainment; making Li-Li a bit nervous. He ordered a Johnny Walker on the rocks, a Bloody Mary and a Miller Light. D-man, the wonder barman, asked which of those he wanted first. "All of them," came the cryptic answer. Planning on getting blitzed or just showing off? Methinks the latter.

I kept trying to watch the musicians, but kept getting eye contact from this character. It just got weird. The headband looked a tie. It said, "Look at me. I'm an asshole waiting to happen." Experience has taught me that some folks just cannot blend in, but rather seek out the attention of anyone who will bear their insufferable tales of greatness. Li-Li said he later got on his cell phone and openly talked about snuffing people out in Peru or somewhere. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the fiction portion of our programming this evening. Freaks, in every and any case, cannot bear not to be the center of attention and better if it makes them look all badass.

All that aside, Li finally got to see Big Red.

"Was she with friends?" I earnestly asked.

"No, she was alone." And as women do notice these things, she gave me a rundown of her outfit: mink coat, spiky boots and that fab-o famous flaming hair.

"All she needed was a cigarette holder."

"To become Cruella Deville."

Nah. We shouldn't pick on old Red. On to the gig.

To be honest, it began much quieter than usual. People were late gathering and when they did, it was to dine. It was a sedate crowd. I think we both were acutely aware that volume and style were critical at the beginning of the evening. Slowly, slowly, things began to build up.

After a two and a half hour set, a miracle occurred: we took a break. Yes, we actually stopped playing before the three hour mark. That is not a complaint, my dear readers. Nay. Playing with a guy with this much ability gives you energy like you never knew you had. Sometimes when the mix of musicians isn't right, it can tire you out because you feel, as one drummer said of a bass player, "It's like dragging a coal barge up the Kanawha river."

After getting a delicious pale ale draft, I followed der guitarmeister along his social path where I met a drummer, watched from afar as he chatted with a singularly beautiful woman and met some lovely people having desserts. I was asked for my Marlon Brando imitation and being the showman (HAM) that I am, I obliged. I had to carefully pick a Apocalypse Now Brando line that would not weird out the family dining scene. Thankfully, good taste prevailed and I didn't make an ass out of myself.

Back at the "band stand," I asked him who was that lovely lady? He told me. I, of course, instantly forgot the name. Then we both agreed: does it matter? No.

"When you're that beautiful, you don't have to do anything." I agreed. The awesomeness gives her a pass on all levels. It's like an all access pass. To everything.

"She's ridiculous like all beautiful women are ridiculous." Last night, after pale ale #2, that sounded more philosophically profound than it does now. Sobriety has that effect.

Back for a quick half hour set, then done.

Gig over, get paid, help load out, talk to two somewhat eccentric father and son fans, then pale ale #3 to finish. Drive home.

No wild party, just a working player. Happy, happy, happy.

All before midnight.

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