It is Monday evening and I know that I usually post on Monday mornings, but I was driving from Santa Cruz to Monterey to have breakfast with an old friend before I drove all the way to Los Angeles.
This weekend I performed for Wayne and Sue Brask (www.BraskHouseConcerts.com ) at a delightful little place called Mission Coffee Roasters (www.fremontcoffee.com ) in Fremont, California on Saturday night, Ordinary Miracles (www.ordinarymiraclesonline.com) in Cotati (near Santa Rosa—about 80 miles north of San Francisco, I believe) on Sunday afternoon and at The Attic (www.theatticsantacruz.com) in Santa Cruz on Sunday evening. Quite a drive, but none of the shows suffered for that so far as I could tell.
That got me to thinking about the mindset of this weekend and how I got thru it, did three shows in twenty four hours and still had a great time—and so far as I can tell so did all the audiences. Here’s how I structured it:
First, I decided that I would arrive in the Fremont area a day before, so I got the long drive from Los Angeles out of the way the day before the show. I stayed with some old and dear friends and we ate and drank and played music til about midnight. This is against what I always preach, but because I didn’t get any practice time in on Friday due to all the things I had to do before I left and then the four hundred mile drive. What I figured was if I actually performed for the eight to ten dinner guests, it would be as good as practicing. There was no pressure to perform, just the joy of making music with friends.
I went to bed and slept until I woke up—something I always try to do the day of a performance. I took it easy, read the paper, wrote Friday’s blog a day late and answered a couple of hundred emails. I left for my 5:45 soundcheck at 4:30 and arrived twenty minutes before I was expected. This made for an anxiety free drive; an anxiety free load in and an anxiety free soundcheck. I made do for a dressing room and warmed up. The show was almost sold out and the audience was wonderfully responsive and aware of what the evening could deliver if they contributed to it. I went out for a bite and a drink with some friends and then back to my friend’s home to bed.
Slept until I woke up, had a leisurely breakfast, read the Sunday San Francisco chronicle and then drove the sixty miles or so to Cotati from Point Richmond, where I was staying. On the way north, I noticed that the southbound 101 was bumper to bumper.
I arrived in Cotati an hour before showtime, loaded in, set up and warmed up in the same anxiety free fashion and did a very satisfying show. Everyone seemed to like it and I spent only another fifteen minutes there after my hour long set and then loaded out and drove to Santa Cruz, about one hundred and twenty miles south on the other side of San Francisco and San Jose.
Because I had noticed all the traffic on the way up, I made up my mind and I might have even said aloud as I was driving, that the traffic “is what it is” and that I wasn’t going to buy into driving like a maniac, conversing individually with every vehicle on the road, or making my self crazy. I just relaxed and accepted whatever showed up. It was Sunday and many people were returning to the City after the week end, but I just relaxed and drove as I could, traffic flowed and I arrived in Santa Cruz forty five minutes before the show was to start.
When I got in the club, there was no sound man and nothing set up or turned on. I have a great deal of familiarity with sound systems and studios but no one can know the eccentricities of every system. It took us an hour to get it working. Seems that one power strip under the console and not visible from the console had been turned off. Once we discovered that we were in business. The crowd was small but very receptive and patient. I never got upset and I never got frazzled. If I had every single thing would have either taken longer or seemed like it was taking longer. Your attitude is almost the whole battle.
Three successful shows within twenty four hours and no scenes, blow-ups, or regrets,, tho next time I am going to call ahead and ascertain that the sound system is turned on and functioning before I get there. You can’t think of everything, but you must.