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Failed Economy Show Post-Mortem...


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The Failed Economy Show came off good. Smaller crowd than I’d have liked, but everybody brought lots of food (bags worth, instead of the 2-cans-each we’d asked for), and we had some people in the audience who’d never been to one of our concerts before (and I didn’t think to ask them where they’d heard about it).

We ended up not having a drummer—Chris was helping deliver a baby, of all things (when we have crises, they are at least interesting ones)—so we just apologized for his absence, told everybody what was going on, and went ahead and played. We have played without a drummer before. John says it’s more work for the bass player—I think it’s more work for the rhythm guitarist, too—but it’s doable. For part of the first set, we had local boy Larry Christensen on sax, and he is very good; however, his stamina pooped out early, because he doesn’t play enough. (Hopefully, this will encourage him to play more.)

Some statistics: The audience drank almost all 30 cups of coffee, ate about half of the 10 dozen cookies (I think they liked the oatmeal-cranberry ones best), and mostly did stick around after the break (which we kept deliberately short).

Lessons? Definitely have refreshments; people went for those immediately, and were “grazing” throughout the show. Getting together early helped, particularly since we hadn’t had a chance to practice; we played a good hour before the show, and not just songs from the setlist—we did other stuff, too. It just got everybody comfortable playing together again. (Made for really sore fingers, though. I was glad I’d done all that finger-strengthening playing the week before.)

We really could use a separate sound engineer; it took most of the first set to get the sound just right—since what we hear at our end of the room isn’t necessarily what the audience hears out in the hall. And I think I’d make sure to have monitors, or something that can be used as monitors; we didn’t this time, and it was hard to hear myself (even though the audience apparently could). I have a tendency to attack the guitar when I can’t hear myself—I worry nobody else can hear me, either—and I realized when I saw a piece of the video that I didn’t need to do that: I could be heard just fine.

And I think two hours may actually be too long for a lot of the folks, and we could have done better with a performance that was half an hour shorter. That’d be ideal for us, because we could play straight through for an hour and a half—we wouldn’t need a break.

The songs the audience liked best, I think, were Stan Good’s “Un-Easy Street” and my “Crosses by the Roadside” (we dedicated the latter to Dick Ackerman); they hung on every word. The one we played best—surprise!—was Coleman and Lazzerini’s “So 20th Century”—we’ve got the tempo and the ragtime beat down just about perfect. And people still think our best dance tune is Southern Pigfish’s “For Their Own Ends”—for which we had, this time, three lead players: “Doc” on the blues harp, Charlie on electric guitar, and Larry on sax. The only song I had trouble with was Frank Papa’s “Have a Good Day”: the lyrics are really rapid-fire, and I’ve got to know about eight lines ahead of time what I’m doing.

There will be video: Video Lady Jane Scott filmed the whole thing, and said she got a lot of usable footage; we will get a copy—and also be told ahead of time when it’ll air on TV, so we can tell folks. I talked to her about making copies of the video on DVD, me doing the packaging, and selling those with proceeds (after costs) going to the Food Pantry (or alternatively, to all four of the Food Pantries in Tillamook County), and she’s interested, I think.

All in all, it was good, I think. Do we want to do it again? Sure. Summer, I think, though. Right now, the next thing I want to get done is the album (studio next Friday), and then the CD release party.

Joe

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