Date: Thu 30 Mar, 2006 at 00:08
Headline: One Moment Please
Greetings & Salutations!
As I have mentioned before, this FloydShow thing actually started with some one-off gigs from many, many years back, long before SoN remotely resembled...well, anything at all. The first of those gigs was played at the Morgan Theater at Utah State University, and one moment from that show left an indelible mark on me.
Actually, it didn't even happen during the show proper. We were doing a "dress rehearsal" (too many theatre geeks in that band) the night before the actual gig, for which the band had spent months preparing. As we launched into the barnburning finale of "Sheep", I leaped to the stage right riser. Normally the domain of our female backing vocalists, it was always left unoccupied for this song, which didn't require their voices. From atop its lofty...er, 3 foot height, I surveyed my kingdom. Only a handful of the hundreds of chairs were occupied, mostly by technicians, friends, hangers-on and the occasional curious passer-by. The lights that played across the empty rows, floor and walls couldn't have been more than a few par cans and a follow-spot or two. There was no real PA, no "mix" to speak of; we simply ran the vocals through the house system and trusted careful amp settings to do the rest. It was, in many ways, a thoroughly amateur production, put on by a bunch of kids who really had only the vaguest idea of what they were doing.
And yet...I felt a moment of bliss for the 20 seconds or so that I stood on that riser which struck to the very heart of why I chose to pick up an instrument and play live shows in the first place. That shock of adrenaline, that absolute connection to the music being played, that palpable sense of tension and release in the air that marked the very best concerts I had attended when I was a kid. It was like being in the crowd, raptly watching a performer whom I idolized working his magic, and being that performer at the same time. It was a moment that felt exactly right. And again, this was only a rehearsal. I became determined that when showtime arrived, I would duplicate this moment, grab it, live in it, hold on for as long as I possibly could. I was sure that having all those bums in seats the next night could only intensify the moment, bring it to new heights.
Well, I was wrong. Not only did the moment not improve, it didn't come at all. For some reason, the girls decided to stay on the platform during "Sheep" after all, and make with the dancing. It was a good thing to do; they had a great time, and I'm sure the audience appreciated it as well. I, on the other hand, was frustrated and disappointed at having my chance at grabbing the Perfect Rock Moment thwarted like that. Though I enjoyed playing the show and its achievement remains a fond and proud memory, I always felt that had I just been able to jump on to that riser, it would have been perfect.
That's utter crap, of course. Moments like that can't be manufactured. They simply exist, and the best you can do is be open to them, recognize them, slip into them and do your best not to ruin them via some human frailty or another. I've become pretty good at most of the things on that list (though the last item still needs work, as I'm sure my bandmates can attest) and chasing those moments remains the primary preoccupation of mine when it comes to this music thing. And they pop out at you when you least expect it.
Take last night, for example.
I was cold, wet, late for soundcheck, and pissed. Not so much about being late in and of itself, as I knew we still had plenty of time before we did the show. I just hate being the guy who lets everyone down. I have enough experience on the other side of that transaction and don't like putting others through it -- and for some reason fate decreed that on this day, everything and everyone would be set up and ready to go for nearly an hour before I arrived. Add a practically oceanic drive through Parley's Canyon, and my nerves were pretty well tweaked. Distracted by all of this mental noise, I stepped from the lobby at Harry O's into the club proper...and stood transfixed for a moment as I took the room in.
All the memories, good and bad, of times we had played the place in the past came flooding back at once. I was struck by how beautiful the renovations were, marveled at the new light rig being put through its paces as Levi ran test patterns. Most significantly, there was the equipment assembled on stage. Two risers on either side for drums and keyboards, plenty of room for all of us to manuever. My bass gear, already set up and ready to rock (thanks, by the way, to...oh, I'm just gonna assume Matt) and all of it framed by gorgeous banners and bathed in intense white light. It was the sort of sight that has greeted my eyes and thrilled my soul every time I step into a concert hall when attending a rock show. Only this time, it was my band about to play on that stage. It literally took my breath away for an instant, and I stared dumbly...before getting into gear and doing my best to make up for my tardiness. It wasn't exactly the "Sheep" moment, but it was damn good.
Oh, and the gig itself? It was fun. The WBR people were cool, the club's staff and management treated us very well, there was a decent turnout for a Tuesday night, and of course Harry's still has the best stage in Utah, bar none. Can't wait to get back there. Adam rocked the soundboard. Fozz came through in the clutch when his main computer was waylaid by the wet weather conditions. After a semi-shaky opening, we settled in and played as well as we ever have. The crowd dug it. We got a request for "Childhood's End" for the encore, and were only too happy to oblige.
And I spent an awful lot of time jumping up on the stage right riser.