I remember mine well. I was about 18. It was one of those gigs where everyone in attendance was related to you or friends. So as I was introducing the band I just kept going right through the audience. (Introduced my friends to my relatives) I remember looking at the band with them shaking their heads. I still get nightmares thinking about that night. It's one of those things that throws your whole night off.
I know there are some worse than this...
Hopefully, no one has already started this discussion. That would be embarrassing! : )
I was asked to go sit in with a country band playing a dance club in Los Angeles, back in the eighties. I'd just gotten a new tuner, had picked it up on my way from north of Santa Barbara to the club in LA, and got to the gig, talked to the band leader while the band took over for a minute or two, and he said "If you're ready to go now, I'll introduce you and you come on up" I confidently said I was ready as soon as I tuned. The sound level was so high in that club that I was going to have to count on this new tuner...and when the display told me things were right, I nodded to the band leader I was ready.
He introduced me to a full house, bragged on me, and I plugged in. "Jambalia in G and KICK it" I called to the band "I'll start, come in on the second bar" They nod. I hit the Cajun lick I was known for and AAAACCCCK!
I'd mashed a wrong button on the tuner and calibrated it to a different tuning.Don't know what tuning I really had, but whatever it was, it was not even close to right.
Bless the band leaders heart, he heard the first two notes, dialed up his volume and covered for me. I dialed my volume off, and bluffed through the rest. Then I put that guitar down and the band leader handed me his acoustic (tuned correctly) to finish the set. I was horrified that I'd been so "ready" when I was not.
The next Monday I took that tuner back and got a fool-proof one.
Guess I'll share...
might be someone reading this who was on this gig.
I was playing for a Nashville Star contestant, Rachel Williams, who's off doing her solo artist thing.
She does a cover of, "I'm Not the Only One" by Melissa Etheridge... (Rachel nails this tune, by the way.)
You know the feel, slow, greasy shuffle-- tempo: 83bpm
I zoned out and clicked ahead one too many on the metronome to the next song, which is a lot faster.
I count the band in and we're playing the intro and everyone's looking at me and I'm thinking to myself, "When did we start doing "Reeling in the Years?" No way to slow to just slow it down while playing, so we had to stop and start over. Lot's of laughs on that one. I stood up and took a bow.
I usually have this incredibly anal routine that had never failed...
1. check the Set List for song Title, Number and Tempo,
2. check the metronome readout for song Number and Tempo,
3. check the Chart for song Title and Tempo.
All 3 match, start the song.
I guess I fell asleep on that one and it bit me in the arse! :-)
Similar situation at a recent gig in Paducah, KY. Half way through the set I look down and the next song is Joe Diffe's ballad "Night To Remember" and the drummer counts it off way too fast, almost double time. Believe it or not we played the entire first verse like that and all fell into the correct tempo on the chorus. Needles to say it really was a NIGHT TO REMEMBER!
Well, I remember mine, but still to this day the details are still a bit fuzzy, if you know what I mean! I was with The Blues Other Brothers at the time doing a weekend gig at Dee Ford's in Anniston AL. It was late in the set, so hopefully nobody else really recognized what was happening, but I bet it looked kinda cool for a while. Anyway, we're in the middle of a song and I could smell that sickly burning plastic smell all musicians know only too well! It was the mid '90s and it was still cool to wear boots with stretch jeans, so that's what I had on. When I recognized the smell I started to look all around for smoking electronics. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something flashing in the drummer's crash cymbal: it was the reflection of fire! In my severely buzzed haze I looked down around the floor, and the electric cord running to my Ampeg rig had caught fire. Apparently my boots had cut into the power cord and the subsequent sparking caught not only the power cord, but the carpet around it on fire! So here I am trying to play, put out the fire by stomping on it, and hoping no one was noticing! There was no water around anywhere, only beer & Jack, and the flames were getting worse! All I could do was fall to my knees and smother the fire out by stamping it out with my hands! Eventually I smothered the flames & recovered my sobriety. I thought I was in the clear until one of the trumpet players came over and said, "Man, you were on fire tonight! You were smokin'!' So, if I ever play Dee's again, I'll pack another water bottle in my ported bass cabinet!
I have two embarrassing moments that I can recall.
Many years ago I arrived in Florida to rehearse very briefly with a well known country artist at the time..we were a pick up band for a week.. that all flew down from Muscle Shoals, Al. We all arrived at the venue..none of the band had ever met the artist..We didn't even know what tunes we would be doing in the show..we had not been given a show tape or anything .The first show was just hours away. The artist handed me my charts first.. except they were not number charts.. it was all scores..I know I had a funny look on my face, as I sat there looking at them at the keyboard. I was looking for number charts.. our guitarist had to turn those into numbers for us.. I was embarrassed.
I was on stage with this pop artist at a huge venue..it was our first show..early in the set.. maybe the third song.. The song opened up with just piano and the artist..there was a spotlight on only the two of us..anyway, I had three keyboards ..2 synths and a korg digital piano..SG1..(this was 21 years ago)..when I started to play the intro on the piano.. nothing came out..no sound..I broke out into a sweat in front of a huge crowd.. A couple of crew guys ran out to my rig and started looking at it..no help..then they ran off stage.. I immediately reached up and played the part on the top synth..didn't even have time to look for a piano type sound.. the patch was a weird one..but at least it wasn't helicopters..lol and the artist was staring at me..like what the heck is going on. Unexpected gear problems onstage can shake a fellow up..
Over the years.. I have learned to not let anything get to me and to not give the audience a hint that something is wrong..
In a former 'life' I was a musical theatre performer in NYC. I had one number ("The Real Me" from All American) during a cabaret act where I was directed to do a pseudo strip-tease of sorts (nothing naked, mind you, but from a frumpy get-up to a sexy little dress, as the song lyrics dictate). We had never rehearsed in the space where we performed until performance night. In spaces where the numbers were rehearsed, there was much more room.
Per direction from my director, I was to fling clothing pieces in various directions. In this small space, there weren't various directions to fling to. So the audience was one direction and the stage was pretty much the other choice.
My accompanist was a pro and kept going, as did I, despite the fact that several clothing pieces were flung into various funny places, completely distracting the audience from my performance. For instance, one piece landed on the ceiling fan and proceeded to whip around for the rest of the SHOW, not just the one number. A second piece landed on an unsuspecting gentlemen in the audience who happened to be wearing a tupee (we discovered) before this piece knocked his piece off his head entirely.
As if the laughter wasn't enough to drown out my performance already, (mind you, this was supposed to be a very empowering and sexy song, NOT funny!), my last piece landed on the FACE/HEAD of my accompanist. Still the pro, he kept playing through to the end, which he fortunately knew enough to play from memory.
The crowd was falling over with laughter. I had just done a psuedo-strip to the amusement of all who witnessed it. I was absolutely mortified. Oh, and I had to perform two more songs after that. Serious ballads.
I wish I would have had video footage of this gig, for it would definitely be up on Youtube! That stuff doesn't happen twice in one lifetime.
I was playing at the Bluebird in Nashville. My guitar was grossly out of tune. I just kept playing. At the end of my set, Barbara Cloyd suggeted that I buy an electronic tuner. The next day, I went out and got one.
There have been many but let's see...these two were the worst
1 - Getting hit with 240 volts between guitar and mic on the soundcheck, which seared my lips - couldn't stop shaking the entire night and even though I fixed the problem I was afraid to touch the mic again so I couldn't play anything right all night. To make things even worse we had been talking big in front of the band that played that bar the week before and get this, they actually came back to see us play...they laughed at us and walked out.
2 - Last big gig of the summer back at our home bar and the band was falling apart, not musically but personality issues (let's just say that two of us couldn't stand to be in the same room anymore - I admit I was one of the two) so we started drinking upon arrival. We did the Who's 'The Real Me' as a soundcheck and it was the best we had ever played together, like a lightbulb burning out. By the first song of the night I was drunk, halfway through the first set management turned the juke box on between songs and asked us to leave. Just about then all of our friends started to pack in...
Wow, that brings back some bad memories.
I don't drink at all anymore, but there are people who handle a drink during a gig without any problems. #2 was really more of a know when to quit (the band) lesson, you shouldn't have to drink to be in the room with your band. We should have pulled the plug and admitted it was over instead of letting it crash and burn in public. Fortunately that was a long time ago...