Ever Have One Of Those Gigs....

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    ...where it just doesn't really come together?

    I had one of m worst gigs in recent memory in a while. It wasn't that I played particularly bad, but I wasn't on my "A" game either.

    It started off like any other gig - we hit things hard and fast with a couple of big band standards that for me are kind of blow - "Fly Me To The Moon," and "Luck Be A Lady." Then we rolled into a lot of other stuff to include our "Going To A GoGo/Nowhere to Run" medley that has some longish lines in it, and I noticed at that point that my chops weren't running at 100%. I got through the gig ok from a chops perspective, but my overall accuracy left some to be desired.

    I think what bothered me the most was the vocal stuff. I completely blanked on the first verse of "Happy" and we debuted our new tune "Rude" with me on lead vocals, and I came in on the wrong key. (too high) In my defense, there's just not much to grab onto at the top of that song and my in-ears mix was lacking in bass tonight - not typically a problem except for when I only have a half of a beat to find the right note, apparently.

    For both of those tunes, once I got back in I was ok for the rest of the song and the rest of my vocals went ok I suppose, but overall, suffice it to say, I've had better gigs.

    To add insult to injury, when my chops were settling in, we were playing "Footloose" and in the big chord buildup to the last choruses, just as I was tanking up to have enough air to get through that, I sucked in a moth that happened to fly within range, which led to a fit of coughing, hacking and spitting, causing me to miss the line almost entirely, and in the end I ended up swallowing the danged thing anyway!

    I don't know if it was because the band has been off for a few weeks, or if it was because we were dealing with Bridezilla tonight and our song list was so heavily restricted it made it difficult to keep any momentum on the dance floor because of it, so the gig felt weird overall, or if this is just one to chalk up as one of those that just didn't come together. In any case, I'm glad its behind me and I can move forward to prep for the next one in two weeks.

    If anyone else has some bad gig stories to share that might make me laugh and feel better, feel free to post them. :-)
  2. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Yummy moth... enjoy!
  3. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Well, there are gigs, there are bad gigs, and there are gigs from hell... I remember doing a friend's wedding. Trumpet solo in church, then play with the big band at the reception afterwards.

    Imagine a really nice, very small church. Spiral staircase to the organ loft that narrow that I had to squeeze through with back and belly wiping the whitewashed walls (good alliteration, eh?). Wearing a black suit, that does not look too good afterwards. Organ was out of tune. Badly. Organist had not practised the music. We separated while playing, never to meet again till after the last note.

    The florist engaged for all the décor had built a wrought-iron flower arch into the aisle of the church. Admittance one only. So after the ceremony, when the newly married couple were leaving the church, they had to squeeze through one at a time...

    Outside the church, a vintage Mercedes provided for the drive to the hotel. No one had checked whether the bride would fit in. As it was a small, pre-war Merc, whe did not. At least not with all the pomp of the rather lavish and circumferentious bridal dress. Only way to get her in was to shove her in sideways so that she was lying horizontally on the rear seat... At arrival, she had to be hauled out rather unceremoniously from the other side - with all the cameras clicking furiously...

    When the big band arrived to set up, we found out that there was no separate hall for the function, just the normal dining room of the hotel. Room height - 7ft 2. A hot August day. No aircon. No stage. Just a corner near the kitchen, ijn the hottest part of the room. Windows locked, and they could not find the key. And, of course, all the guests already seated and no spaces to haul gear around in. We ended up carrying the electric piano and the PA stuff in over the guests' heads: you know, two guys carrying one side of the piano to the left of the row of tables, two guys carrying the other side to the right of the row, with the piano (an old electric baby grand!!) suspended over the guests' heads... One slip, and there would have been heavy casualties...

    When it came to throwing the bouquet, no one got it - it got stuck in the lighting and caught fire before someone could coax it out.

    And the actual performance?

    Just imagine a room at somewhere around 35° C, no aircon, no air, no space for the sound... and as the kitchen and refrigeration facilities of the hotel were rather overstrained, some of the food was just stored on the open staircase. Imagine a roast salmon being kept at that temperature for eight hours before being served...
    Many of the guests met next day at the doctor's!, with food poisoning.
  4. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    I played at a wedding once with a rock band + 3 piece horn section where the rock band got lost on the way to the venue. Horns only for the first hour. N moth swallowing but still pretty brutal. At the end of the day, the horns got paid....I'm pretty sure the rest of the band forfeited their pay.
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I've had gigs where things just didn't click. I'm guessing it was mainly me, either tired, distracted, or uninterested. I've found that tired is fixed by eating right, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest the night before; distracted is fixed by concentrating on what I'm playing; and uninterested is fixed by not taking a gig I don't want to do...;-)
  6. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

    May 27, 2014
    i played a wedding on a february night on the shore of lake michigan. the synagogue was all while marble, very modern, and it was cold, like 25 below outside. it was about 60 inside. the i was going to play the purcell trumpet voulntary. i hadn't been playing piccolo that long and i was a little nervous. i'd warmed up very carefully, trying not to overdo it. the organist was vamping. showtime came and went. no bride. 15 minutes goes by. 20, then 30. found the bride, unintentially locked in the basement powder room. janitor doesn't have the key. a few guys from the congregation get together and decide to take off the door. an hour late, it was time to play trumpet voluntary. i'd been sitting there freezing my ass off for an hour. 1st note was a blank, but after that, it was ok.

    different gig. showed up at the venue, and there is another band setting up. uh-oh. bandleader looks at the contract. not signed. we had no gig. unloading the gear back at the piano player's house, the rhodes suitcase was accidentally dropped off the truck. landed on my foot. broke two toes.

    yet another wedding. crowded room, guests already seated, like story by barliman. soundboard (6 feet long) had to be carried in overhead by one guy on each end. thank god it wasn't me. the two guys were being so careful of the guests on either side of them that the board took off the top two layers of the cake. nobody got paid that night.

    still another: loooong time ago. this happened at a DRY wedding. (no booze) we're playing...the hokey pokey. (WE had been drinking, in the car, but not the guests.) we had a final verse of the hokey pokey that we occasionally used with some dirty lyrics. the singer, who had perhaps imbibed more than the rest of us, segued right into it, and there was nothing the rest of us could do to stop him in time. the guest list was largely religious (priests and nuns) and by the time we were able to get the singer's attention, he'd already advised sister mary theresa, among others, to put her left boob in the circle. the dancers stopped and stared at us. we stopped playing. after a conference on the dance floor, a small delegation came forward and asked us to please leave. no money that night either.

    moose lodge in a rough neigborhood. two families being joined that did not get along. sitting on opposite sides of the dance floor. there had been an minor scuffle or two. around midnight, somebody tossed a beer bottle. an all-out brawl ensued. packed up fast and ran for cover. hell with the money.

    my all time favorite: playing in a band led by a young, very good looking drummer. the bride kept coming up behind the bandstand and whispering in his ear. at one of the breaks, i asked him if she had been making requests, because we hadnt been playing anything different from our usual set. she had been making requests, alright, FOR HIM TO MEET HER IN THE PARKING LOT!!!
  7. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

    May 27, 2014
    one more...didn't happen to me but i saw it. playing an outdoor concert in the summer. a cloud of rather large, disgusting insects came in off the water, flew into the lights up above, and died en masse, raining down on the band during the national anthem. the first trumpeter inadvertanly swallowed one and gagged. jumped off the back of the stand to get some water. he was really grossed out. he came back, still a little shaky, hurriedly got the first tune up, and sat down, ON HIS TRUMPET. played the rest of the concert with a crooked dizzy bell.
  8. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

    May 27, 2014
    ok...i promise to stop after this one. we're playing GOTTERDAMMERUNG, (wagner opera, 6 hours long.) it starts early, so the management had kindly provided sandwiches at the first intermission (about 2 hours in.) some of those sandwiches were shrimp salad. apparently not adequately refrigerated. we're in an opera pit, crammed together, about 100 players. there's one door. looong ways off. its pretty warm in there. about half an hour into act 2, you can hear quiet retching sounds from around the pit. then the smell. by the time it was over, it didn't matter if you'd had one of those sandwiches or not. feel better yet?
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    Insects are a beneficial form of protein --- you can find many recipes, and suggestions on how to incorporate them in various foods from cookies to substitute soy product --- eat more insects, worry less about a bad gig ----- and be happy ROFL ROFL ROFL
  10. some_blue

    some_blue Pianissimo User

    Jan 21, 2004
    Great stuff, stories, tales and all. Some cringe-inducers. Thanks Trickg
    and others for sharing. I'm reminded of a mishap or two, but also of the
    good ones, where things clicked, cooked and meshed beautiful-like.

    Ah, when it REALLY works, 'tis a wondrous thing... (and unpredictable
    events aside, as Mr. Proctor said, prep and forethought go a long way,
    still, when it rains bugs or bad fish or ... Oy-ski)

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