Ever have one of "those days?" You know ... when Murphy's Law is in full swing and just about everything that CAN go wrong DOES go wrong? Well, Orleans recently had that experience ... but managed to rise above it.
On Nov. 23rd, 2013 in Grovetown, GA (near Augusta), we played a "snake-bit" show. Oh, it started out OK, if a bit early, with a sound check at 9:30 AM. That's not really normal Rock 'n Roll work hours, but hey ... we can make it happen! The check itself went well; a fine tech crew, good gear, no problems and we finished on time at 11.
something like "Y'all will have to tell the rest of Augusta what they missed tonight!"
|The day was overcast and a bit bitter for an outdoor show. The fairgrounds site had never seen a concert before and infrastructure was minimal. After a quick lunch, we headed back to the hotel as Juice Newton's band took the stage for their sound check.
Fast-forward to our return to the site for dinner at about 7 PM. Pure Prairie League sounded great as we rolled up. Walking towards the dressing rooms pavillion, I heard a comment from stage:
Lance with Juice Newton early on
Particulaly bad planning on the promoter's part had yielded a tiny audience; something like 2 dozen concert-goers in a space that could have held thousands! Bad weather didn't help, but this small-but-stalwart crew braved the cold and drizzle, intent on enjoying their large-scale but strangely intimate serenade.
Juice followed PPL, also sounding great. But clearly she was a bit rattled as she entered the dressing room area, post-show. Apparently there had been a power surge sometime earlier in the day which had done significant damage to the PA equipment. The monitor board, which saves all settings for each act separately (much like you save a Word doc on your computer) had all but fried. Sound on stage was a shifting sands, with things coming and going at will. Not what you want when you're trying to give your best performance.
Bad weather and tech problems had caused the day schedule to fall behind as Orleans took the stage plenty late, proceeding to grapple with our own monitor nightmare. Our set, which was supposed to start at 9:30 PM and run for 90 minutes, finally got underway at 10:20. Ready or not, it was time to launch and get 'er done, come what may. The show MUST go on!
As you might imagine, this was not the most conducive environment in which to reach our finest artistic heights ever. Still, we managed to muscle our way through the first half of the set list ... and the "crowd" seemed to be enjoying it (which is, in the end, what really matters).
40 minutes into the set, as I glanced over my left shoulder, an officer of the law appeared to reluctantly inform us that local ordinances required that we stop playing ... IMMEDIATELY! What? You're kidding me, right? Nope.
It quickly became clear that no amount of negotiating was going to change his position. After all, it wasn't his idea; it was just his job. So, not wishing to rage against the machine unnecessarily, we had the PA turned off, grabbed acoustic guitars and made our way to the front of the stage, where we delivered this impromptu and literally unplugged version of our best-known anthem. As you can tell, the small but enthusiastic crowd was well-pleased .. including one over-active fan who sang louder than all of us combined!