Greetings & Salutations!
The only thing better than a great gig is a gig with a great story. At our CD release show last Saturday, we got both.
I was having a conversation with Flanders when the power went down. At first we thought it was the venue’s electrical system, then discovered that the blackout covered the entire block, then later learned that three different grids across the Salt Lake Valley had been disabled by a blown transformer. Well…that was unexpected, bordering on unreal. Here we were, months of prep work gone into planning, rehearsing, and promoting the show, new CDs in hand (a major feat itself) and sound check completed, and then …poof.
I’m sure I went through all five stages of grief internally, but I don’t really remember any time spent. One moment, I was babbling about lyrics and philosophy, and the next I was up and running — making contact, doing my best to ensure that everyone who had already arrived at the venue stayed, and that any newcomers understood that they were in the right place.
This state of affairs lasted for the better part of an hour. The band was prepared to improvise if conditions didn’t change soon, and we were only a few minutes away from gathering up all the candles and flashlights in the joint, then making do with percussion instruments and acoustic guitars, when the power was suddenly restored. And there was much rejoicing.
Things proceeded more or less as planned from there. It was a huge relief, definitely provided a jolt of adrenaline to our performance, and was ultimately for the best…but a tiny part of me regrets that our contingency plans became unnecessary. I was immensely proud of the band, the club, and the audience for being willing to steer into that skid, and I can’t help but wonder what kind of great memories we might have forged if we’d been forced to bond even further under such odd, giddy duress.
I enjoyed playing the show immensely. There were constant surprises as the performance unfolded, not the least of which was that the material hung together much better than I was expecting. Though the album clocks in at nearly 70 minutes, there was a great arc to the set — nothing felt extraneous, or seemed to drag. Hopefully it will be that way to first-time listeners of the CD as well. It is said that when you’re in the painting, you can’t see the painting, so I will never really be able to experience that for myself, but I have to say that all of these songs together, in order, in the context of a living, breathing performance…it felt right to me. Although we have no plans to play the entire thing live again, I have a feeling it could be a pretty successful venture if we did, and that’s a tremendous confidence booster.
On the subject of confidence… something else that was on my mind, though I didn’t mention it from the stage, is that this night marked the 10th anniversary of SoN as a live band. 10 years, almost to the day. The thought had sort of snuck up on me a few days before the gig, and it had me in a reflective, philosophical mood. The question kept jumping out at me: has this all been worth it? After the show, I was approached by more than a few people who told me that this was the best version of SoN that they had ever heard. Many of these folks had been coming to see us for that entire 10 year span. Some were former band members. To receive such unexpected and heavy praise like that…honestly, I was blown away. Still am. It means so much to know that this music is reaching people, and that we were able to do it justice on stage.
Major props are due to our friends Ray Opheikens and Troy Fillmore, both of who helped us conceive, construct, organize, and execute this show on a level that we would never have managed on our own. We owe you the world, gentlemen. The staff, crew, and regulars at Carol’s Cove II also deserve massive praise for their support and patience with all of the proceedings.
Speaking of patience and support, our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who showed up, stayed, and had such amazing compliments for us afterward. The more time passes and the further we get into this music thing, the fewer divisions I see between those of us performing and those of us listening, and the more I feel that we’re all in this together, one way or another.
A personal thanks from me to the band: this show simply would not have been possible without Mike, Marie, Tommy, Dave, and John doing their homework, stepping up to the plate, and delivering the goods like gangbusters. World class, the lot of them. I am in awe of their talent, inspired by their commitment, and grateful to know them as fellow humans.
As for Mr Meldrum, the adamantium who held everything together: I recently quipped in an e-mail that when he chose me as a musical partner, he married far below his station. Glad he doesn’t seem to have a problem with that, because this show just proved it all over again. 🙂
And as Matt has said, Green & Grey is not the period at the end of our sentence, merely a semi-colon. There is much more to come, and we’re looking forward to it, but first we’re going to take a deep breath and savor the moment.
We did it. We pulled it off.
All of us.
Thank you for being there.