(if you haven’t already, you need to go down and read the previous post “The setup of low expectations…)
First, James and I get to Arsaga’s and find my friend, Keith, waiting for us in the parking lot. I had mentioned the gig to Keith on Wednesday night at a 4th of July party, and he’d asked if he came if he could play. At the time, I told him to plan on it. Now, Keith is a world-class musician/songwriter/bassist who travels all the time, and I didn’t really expect that on one of his few weekends off, he’d want to 1) come to my little coffee house gig 2)Actually want to play with me. Imagine my surprise to find him already there and waiting on us, with my songs all charted out and ready to play!
So, we get set up and start playing. Keith is awesome! I always forget just how much a really good bass player can fill out the sound, even w/o a lot of drums playing with him. Because Keith had actually done some preparation for the gig, I stuck pretty close to originals with the few covers being real crow-pleasers. Well, I start realizing there there are quite a few people in the place and they’re having a good time and really paying attention to what we’re doing. A number of people that I knew showed up that don’t regularly show up for Arsaga’s gigs. So, people were actually coming and staying. I’d taken decongestants and tylenol before the gig, and so I was feeling ok and sounding ok. James was doing great and we were just really having a fun time! Because we were doing mostly originals and covers that I’ve been doing for quite some time, Holly stayed on stage most the night and gave us some rhythm and sang the two songs that she sings lead on. Sound seemed just about right: Loud enough, but not blaring.
Ivy is sitting at a table right up front with some friends and is just eating up the attention. At one point, I was coaching the crowd on “Sha-la-la” words they’re supposed to sing with me, and I tell Ivy that I can’t hear her. Right on cue, she jabbers so the whole place can hear: “la-la-la-la…” It brought the house down!
As if that weren’t all enough and really the most fun. With about 20 minutes left, another friend, Keith’s partner, Ezra, jumps to the stage and takes over Holly’s dumbek. He’s beating the crap out of it and it sounds AWESOME! He stays up for the rest of the set on dumbek and we end up playing an impromptu U2 medley of “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets have no Name” with Keith wailing on bass and Ezra rocking out on dumbek. IT WAS AWESOME!
To top it all off, I made the most possible from the drawer, did well with tips, and sold 7 CDs! (I think 4 CDs sold at an Arsaga’s gig was my previous record.)
So, even though I came in with such low expectations, it easily turned into the best Arsaga’s gig I’ve ever played. The fact that these great songwriters, Keith and Ezra, not only like and respect my music, they even enjoy playing it with me is a huge vote of confidence and affirmation to me as a songwriter/musician.
It seems like a perfect time to take a break. It’s not that I’m never going to play Arsaga’s again. It’s just that I’d like to write some more songs, maybe get a new project recorded and come back with a whole new set. That’s the plan at this point. I don’t know if I’ll cut back to playing just once a quarter or what. We’ll just see.
Thank you to everybody who came out the other night and made it such a blast!