Friday, July 04, 2008

When Friends Stop By

Today I had my yearly 4th of July gig in a nearby park. This marks the first time in four years that it hasn't rained on the event and I must say that I find it far more enjoyable when I'm not trying to keep water out of my gear. It was just a perfect summer day, with a giant American flag suspended from two towering trees, over girls in cotton print dresses pushing happy, sticky children in strollers.

Another aspect of today's show was the decidedly unhurried manor in which I loaded it in. Generally I arrive on time, only to wait for the tent crew to finish up and then scramble to get my stuff in under cover before we start. For that matter, most gigs that I do require me to hustle at load in and that is not my favorite thing, it's unprofessional. Not today my friends, I strolled, I ambled, I plodded, I picked away... I may have even lollygagged a little bit. And I was ready to go ten minutes before start time.

But the real joy of today was all the people that stopped by my little tent at the mix position. It started with a loud "HEY" as my lighting guy stopped by on the way to get a sausage. Then I felt a friendly hand on my shoulder and a bass player sat down next to me. We got into a discussion about how in the old days of recording and radio they just used one mic. We both got a chuckle when the closing act did just that.

My wife and children swung by the mix for a quick visit, then disappeared into the throng for a good four hours until I saw them again. My folks were next. They drifted off and back. They finally wound up parked in folding chairs just behind me, visiting with friends that saw them and stopped, and paying the occasional compliment to my mix. More band members, former assistants, an elderly ham radio operator that heard me talking about the gig on the air.

In addition to being a really easy gig, I had a constant flow of friends and relations stopping by. It was quite a nice change from the usual grind of band members brimming with attitude, stressed out promoters and things going wrong. Like I've said before, once in a while you get one that reminds you why you do this.

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