I had five gigs this weekend, and each was special in its own way. The first one, Friday afternoon, came in at the last minute. It was a big band show, and I was subbing for someone else. I got there an hour early for the soundcheck, and the singer passed out a chart that looked like a 15th generation xerox. It was illegible, and the song was incredibly fast. Then the singer started telling us what songs we were going to do. "Pull up this one, then that one, no, wait a minute, put that one away, and maybe we'll play this other one instead, or maybe we'll do another one." By the time he was done talking, we had 15 charts ready, and no idea what order we were going to do them. On the gig, he'd whisper the title to us and then BS with the audience while we scrambled to find the chart. The people who introduced the band talked for ten minutes before the show, and the band played a first set that went too long, and we took intermission with 40 minutes left in the program. After a 20-minute break, we came back and finished ten minutes late. One tune, Satin Doll, I remember butchering the jazz solo on in high school. In fact, I've still got the video of it from 1983. It was pretty bad. Well, I grabbed the solo on that tune because I've long since figured out how to play that one, and it was like a slow pitch I'd been waiting for for 24 years. I daresay I knocked it out of the park, and it felt good. The illegible tune was the last tune. I had to guess about a lot of different notes on the tune, since they looked like a smear on the page, but somehow we all ended together and I got paid, except for the ten minutes overtime. Friday evening was a salsa gig. It was listed as 9pm to midnight, but of course we started an hour late. We played an hour, and then took a break while another band played, and were hoping that due to being behind schedule, we wouldn't have to go back on. No such luck. At midnight, the leader called us back for 3 more tunes. What should have been a 3-hour gig turned into almost 4. While looking for a missing chart, I grabbed the leader's folder out of the box and made a fascinating discovery. It was a bunch of lists of what everyone was getting paid for various gigs. I'd asked for a raise a few months back, and according to the list, I was making more than everyone except the piano player, who made the same as me. Somehow, that made things a little better.Saturday afternoon was a quasi-classical gig, a dinner theater type thing. It was the first show of an 8-week run, and nobody had their act together except the musicians. Luckily, the star of the show kept cutting out parts of the act in order to stay on schedule. We got out on time, and hit the road for the next gig, which was at America West Arena, where the Suns play.This was for an oldies R&B tour that comes to town once or twice a year. They hire some local horn players to back up a series of acts. We usually have a brief rehearsal/soundcheck, and then open the doors to the arean, and we play the gig. Nothing like winging it for 10,000 people. We got there in time for soundcheck, and the sound crew didn't even remotely have their act together. So we sat around for 45 minutes while they plugged stuff in. Then the first act wanted to take forever to rehearse, when they only really had about ten minutes. We hit some potential trouble spots, and then the next act came on, etc. The arena delayed the opening of the doors so that we could have more rehearsal time. The last act didn't really know what they wanted to do, and couldn't explain it ("When we sing la la la, you guys play la la la, OK?"), and the charts were a mess, and they kept screwing up their own music. Finally we had to clear the stage while they opened the house. During dinner, word came in that the last act decided the band wasn't good enough (meaning we couldn't follow their mistakes and read their minds) and they'd decided to play to prerecorded tracks. Cool! As it turned out, we played two acts early on, had a 90-minute break, and then played one more. During the break, we went across the street to Alice Cooper's bar and had a couple of beverages. Then we played the last act, which was also a mess because they changed everything on the fly, but we hung with them as best we could. And then we got paid and got out of there an hour early. They couldn't find one sax player's check, and said they'd take care of it later. He raised hell and suddenly they found it. Next morning, back to the quasi-classical gig. During a 2-hour break between sets, we hit another bar down the road. As we were arriving back for the last set, it was raining and a traffic jam exodus trapped us far from the venue. We had to park 3 blocks away and run for it in the rain. We got to the stage with 2 minutes to spare. Whew. Oh well, it beats working for The Man.
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