On June 8th, we headed to Altoona for the first Downtown Concert Series of
the season. The weather was HOT and sunny all the way there. Me, Jack,
Marco, Karyn, Viola and Doreen had a pleasant drive with only a minor
traffic hangup. We made good time. About a week before the show, a local
horn player named Dan contacted us on MySpace asking if he and his friend
Rich could sit in with us on alto and bari sax and of course we said yes.
We put the charts online for them along with MP3's, asked them to practice,
which they did, and show up. They were going to play on 9 songs, but on the
third song, about three quarters of the way into our first set, the wind
kicked in and the sky turned black. Doreen was holding the tent in place
while singing. Meanwhile, Dan & Rich's sheet music started flapping and I
held it in place while singing. Suddenly, I heard a CRASH behind me. Jack's
cymbal stands got blown over and cymbals flew off the stands. Bob, the man
in charge, ran up to the stage and told me to CUT -- there was lightning.
So we pulled the plug. It was a shame because so many people had come out
to see us. I talked to quite a few people afterwards, as we huddled under
tents or hung out inside Vipond's (an appliance store right next to the
stage area.) Thanks to those of you who did come out and who bought our
CD's, DVD's & t-shirts. We'll be back in Altoona in August and we all must
pray for good weather!
Anyway, for the heck of it, we put audio of the song GIMME MORE TIME up on our page here in the mp3 player inside "Odds and Ends". This is the song we were playing when the wind kicked in and the cymbals went flying. It's humorous.
On the 13th, we were scheduled to play by the fountain in Journal Square in
Jersey City. Thanks to Ray & Sheila for coming out from Manhattan and also
to Ronnie. The weather was cloudy and threatening rain, but we did the
show anyway and got lucky... not a drop came out of the sky. We sold quite
a few CD's, so that was cool. This was Viola's first gig with us and she
Then, two days later, Karyn announced in an email that her new job prohibits
her from touring. So now, we're stuck in the lurch with gigs which we
committed to and no guitarist! BD Lenz is going to fill in where he's able,
but some shows, well, basically, we're screwed, and I wouldn't have booked
them if I didn't have a band to play them. For anyone who has followed the
history of the band, this one is definitely one of our worst situations. In the
past, when people left this band, they honored their committments. Our
reputation is at stake here. I had JUST put her picture up on this website.
Needless to say, I was and still am completely stressed out about this.
The luck of bn9 never
ceases to amaze me!!
So Marco and I spent a few stressed out days trying to cover our butts... we signed CONTRACTS for gigs. We got BD Lenz to cover some shows and Jack's roommate Skip to cover others, but now, we're back to the drawing board once again with the band. The search for a guitarist is on.
On June 21st, we drove all the way to Illinois for some shows that weekend.
It was a long drive and we were all exhausted by the time we got to our
hotel. This was Ilise's first experience gigging with blue number nine and
Karyn's last tour.
On the 22nd, we had an early show -- 12 noon -- in Macomb. On the way
there, the weather was horrible... thick clouds, heavy rain and lightining,
but miraculously, it was clear skies over Macomb... well, more or less
clear. It sprinkled at the very beginning of our set but cleared up. We
were told that the night before was a washout. The entire state of Illinois
had a severe weather warning watch in effect. But we made it through our
two sets and people really enjoyed it and they want us back next year, so it
was definitely a success.
After the show, we headed to our hotel in Peru, IL, and then on to play 3
sets at the 9th Street Pub in La Salle. It was a great time, as always, at
9th Street. Thanks to everyone who came out to see again and to everyone
who bought our CD's and t-shirts!
The next day, we had a two hour drive to our next show in Champaign, IL. We
got there super early, but this time, luck was not on our side with the
weather. Right about the time we arrived, so did lightning, so all food
vendors closed down and the music was halted. However, about an hour later,
they decided to shut down the entire festival. We were all highly
disappointed because it was a great festival and we all knew we would have
done well. The only good thing was that we got on the road quite a few
hours earlier than planned, drove straight home and got back to NJ around
10am. I didn't sleep at all. Neither did Jack. This was a hardcore and
difficult mini tour that didn't pay very well, and gas is EXPENSIVE, but I
had a good time. I know Marco and Jack did, too.
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