Back in the Barrel of the Gun Pt 1 - Managing lots and lots of Songs.
by, 02-07-2011 at 04:44 AM (1911 Views)
This was the first weekend of the month, which means that we have our regular "first weekend of every month All Star Trio gig at the Blue Beet". Its one of the few opportunities we have anymore to play two nights in a row in the same venue which cuts down on setup and tear down time but also means that we can't get away with playing all of the same songs two nights in a row. Since my "return" to the group after a 4 year break I've been working my way through the current song list but they've been going easy on me and just adding a couple of newer songs per gig. Until now.
Friday night we played through everything we have been playing to date...I did OK with the music but I spent a bunch of time struggling with my pedalboard reconfiguration (more here on that: http://markweinguitarlessons.com/for...king-my-sounds). Saturday night when the drummer (who is the boss in this band) got to the venue he handed me a new copy of the song list. Everything we had played the night before was greyed out and he told me that (with the exception of a couple of important songs) we were only playing songs that we hadn't done the night before. He didn't do it to stress me out but because we really need to get on the ball and complete learning the repertoire. The list has 133 songs on it and we had played a few other songs the night before that pre-dated the list from my first stretch in the band so the band really has 140+ songs.
We start out and the first song I destroy is "Hotel California" by the Eagles....it's one that I learned singing an octave down but for some reason I thought I could sing it in the original octave. Not such a good idea I get halfway through the first verse and then realize I can't pull it off. In trying to switch back I blank on the lyrics and have a hard time recovering for a verse or so. My "note for note" rendition of the epic guitar solo at the end of the song also goes sideways. Not a good start. Over the course of another few songs I realize that I really do know all of these songs....things start going really well and there are no major issues until the end of the night where "Working for the Weekend" by Loverboy is called...I'm very quickly trying to remember the guitar parts and quietly play the into riff with my volume down, which Dominic takes as me actually knowing the song. He counts the tune off and I realize that not only do I not remember the rest of the song but niether does the bass player, who is also singing it. It ended up sounding like someone gave the members of Loverboy a head injury and then got them really wasted on Red Bull and Vodkas before making them play this song at gunpoint.
I actually feel pretty good about the song list at this point. I need to review a few things and there are still about 10 songs that I need to learn but overall I'm confident that I could pull off over 100 of the songs on the list without any trouble. I even nailed the vocal on "F@#K You" by Cee Lo Green, which was both a blast and a violation of a personal rule of mine, which is that I don't use foul language on stage...just something I'm not comfortable with in spite of the fact that I swear like a sailor the rest of the time. The song is just too fun to play and I guess if we aren't playing a bar full of drunks at midnight I can do the "clean" version.
Part 2 is going to be about some gear issues I worked through over the course of the two nights and how I manage my sounds as the volume on stage gets louder and I try to keep myself from starting the Volume Wars.
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