Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Halloween Show

The day came. Where we were going to play the show was at this two-story brick building on North 6th and K Streets. We lugged up a flight of stairs and then crammed into Winter's car all the guitars, drum parts and amps we were going to use. We dropped it off at the place, went back, and then lugged the organ and the rest of the drums up the stairs, into the car, and into the place. Inside of the place was open and vast, with an upstairs, where the PA speakers (and the Kustom amp that I was using for the organ) were.

The evening came. Dan arrived, and soon the other guys had decked themselves out in thrift-store suits (I hadn't found anything of the sort for myself). But, Dan had one more thing he was going to wear for the show: he pulled out a full-sized paper bag with little holes for his eyes, and put it on for a laugh. "The Unknown Drummer!", I exclaimed.

The lot of us walked four blocks down the street to the place where the show was going to happen. The people who lived there had put those little tea-candles on every available surface around the place, including the organ, and the Kustom head on top of it. I blew them out. The only way we could fit the organ in the space we were going to play was limited by the access to the nearest outlet. So, we had it turned around so that I had my back to the crowd. Not what I wanted, but that was our only option. Dan put the bag on his head.

I brought my Fostex 4-track recorder (due to lots of previous use back at home, track two was wearing out rather quickly) and one microphone with me to record the show with. I set the microphone atop Winter's amp.

Showtime! Where's the setlist? Nobody has it...son of a bitch!

"Guess we'll have to wing it!", Tom announced. And off we went. The songs we played were:

1) I'm Not Talking
2) I'm Talking About You
3) Handsome Devil
4) Too Much Monkey Business
5) Evil Hearted You
6) Heart Full Of Soul
7) Beautiful Delilah

Did I mention that the amp to the organ was upstairs? I couldn't hear it at all, though I had it up as loud as it would go. The PA being upstairs didn't help, either. Sounded like the vocals were in another house. But we somehow managed to get through the show, despite one guy in the crowd drunkenly howling "Free Bird!". We continued, getting to the songs we just knew would knock 'em dead:

8) Lost Woman
9) Who Do You Love

This was where it really picked up. During "Lost Woman", I looked over at Dan, and not only was the bag still on his head, he had it turned completely around; he was hammering away and not missing a note! The false ending worked out really well. The crowd ate that one up, and asked for more while Winter and Tom were trying to remember the next song we had planned to play. Someone shouted, "You guys know all the Yardbirds!".

During "Who Do You Love", I was banging the tambourine and maraca, which popped like a lightbulb on the rim of the tambourine. Beads flew everywhere. And then at the end of the song, I smashed out the skin of the tambourine on the chair I had been sitting in. What a crowd-pleaser! What a show!

After I got home, I played the tape. It was awful. The microphone had fallen off of Winter's amp and was dangling behind it for the whole show, and that was pretty much all you could hear for the duration of the recording.

Two days later, after being able to leave our gear there, we took it all back down the stairs to Tom's place, back in the practice room. During the second trip to bring the organ back home, Tom happily discovered a small bong of his that he had shoved into the back of the organ (through one of the holes in the backboard) for safekeeping.

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