|Gig at a Private Party|
On July 4th, we played for veterans at the Veteran's Administration facility in Menlo Park, California. The weather was much cooler than on Saturday, and we enjoyed ourselves as we played for a large crowd of festive vets and their families. We shared the gig with some band friends, the Rattlesnake Ridge band. They opened the entertainment, we played after them, and they closed the show. We were very happy with the favorable reaction we received; several people came up to the bandstand to express their appreciation and enjoyment.
We all felt the band is reaching some kind of turning point, where our performance is moving up a notch. I felt very comfortable with my bass playing, enjoying the thrill of having my subconscious serve up new riffs and runs that I hadn't played before, trying new things on the fly and having them work. I am big on improvisation, as opposed to merely playing memorized bass lines, but only for songs where such improvisation is appropriate, e.g. jazz, standards, etc. For classic rock you need to play the signature riffs that the audience loves and expects.
After this weekend of heavy gigging, we are postponing any further practices until Sunday, to recuperate from the heat and the physical activity. It takes a lot of effort to run a band, and not just from practicing and playing. Loading and unloading equipment, setting up speaker systems, plugging in and testing the microphones, arranging the systems, then the breaking down and carrying it all back home again...many folks don't understand how much effort is involved. That's why bands should be paid something for their performances, at least enough to reimburse for gas and costs. (We were paid for the Saturday gig but the July 4th gig is our charitable contribution to our veterans, which we were happy to provide.)
After the July 4th gig, we retired to our drummer's home in Palo Alto to eat and relax, and talk about a new song list for future performances. It was a satisfying three-day weekend.