I played in a house big band for a North Scottsdale AZ resort hotel in the late 70s. Every week a new headliner would show up with their musical director and charts and we would play their show for the week.
New Year's eve one year, they brought in a well-known "B" actor who was one of the villains in the old Batman TV series. A funny guy, he had some good material and did a little song and dance.
We were doing our show New Year's eve leading up to the big countdown, and around 11:45 I could see the entertainer sweating profusely. He was starting to lose some of his rhythm and charm. The crowd by now, like most large New Year's crowds was starting to get unruly. The noise level was climbing and comments were starting to fly at this guy.
As he finished a joke, he nervously looked at the piano player who was our house player and didn't really know the guy, and said, "What do I do - I'm all out of material"?
The crowd at this point was like a wild animal sensing fear. It got louder and uglier, and this professional actor was turned to mush, standing front and center unable to say anything coherent.
It was the only time I had ever seen a crowd of people eat a professional entertainer for a midnight snack.
In the mid 80s the band was performing at a local bar that had just opened a new 60 thousand dollar section. They had a new stage, lighting, huge sound system and a dance floor that resembled the lit up dance floor in the movie Saturday Night Fever.
First song, New Year's Eve, and a packed bar. I signal to the bass player to turn on the new fog machine. He stomps on it and after a bit, he realizes he can't shut it off. We continue through the whole song, and I'm laughing so hard, I can't finish the last lyrics. Now the place is so filled with 'stage fog' that you can't see an inch in front of us. After five minutes he finally realizes the switch is not working - so he unplugs the power to it.
We eventually make it outside, and the building looks like it's on fire with all the smoke coming out. When the smoke clears, the bar is empty and we get a few stragglers come in to the bar to bring in the new year with a foot of fog still floating on the floor. It would have been perfect for a music video.
The moral of the story: Hire a bass player who knows how to turn on and off a fog machine! And by gosh! Video the funny moment and put it on the internet!
This gig was scheduled for Dec 31st, 1999. Everyone was concerned about Y2K and such. We really didn't want to take a NYE gig that year so when our booking agency called and asked us for a price, we tried to overprice ourselves and asked for $2000. Our highest paid gig at the time was only $750 so we were VERY surprised our agent booked us for $2500. Guess we had to do the gig.
Initially we were to play at a hotel ballroom to a crowd of about 300. They didn't get many RSVP's so it was dropped to about 150 and the same hotel, smaller ballroom. Again not as many RSVP's so the venue was changed to a restaurant nearby. Not surprisingly, the venue was changed to a small cafe due to lack of RSVP's.
By this time I thought to myself that we'd get to the gig and there would be a 5x5 stage area OUTSIDE (in the cold), one two-plug AC outlet with one already in use to power x-mas lights and a food warmer/heater...
Well I was not off by much. We were to set up outside in a small tent and had two outlets. No need for us to bring out our concert bi-amped JBL system... We used two stage monitors on sticks and ran vocals and kick drum in the mix. I set my Marshall half stack to run at 25 watts and even that was too loud. Oh well, play the hand you're dealt right?
We started to a crowd that included our drummer's two boys. Other than that we played for no one. About a half hour into the set a bus shows up and a crowd of about 20-30 flows into the cafe. A few come out to hear the band. We extended the set to keep the crowd. Soon afterward the bus filled up and again we played to the drummer's two young boys.
It was a relief to be done with the gig and nice to see that the world didn't end. We played to MAYBE ten people the whole night and everyone in the band made $500.
It was New Year's Eve, and this was about to turn into by far the worst gig we ever did. It started when the staff gave us 220v instead of 110, and we proceeded to blow fuses left and right as we plugged in our gear..
At 20 minutes until midnight, a man collapsed on the dance floor as we played Shake Your Booty. Respectfully, we stopped the party. A couple nurses were in the audience, so they worked on him until the ambulance came. Unfortunately it was too late, as the EMTs pronounced the gentleman dead on the spot.
We were getting yelled at by the promoter to keep on going, with a dead man only recently removed from the floor, so we finally welcomed the New Year at around 12:20.. Just to watch the balloons refuse to come down on the dance floor.
Had a Top 40/Classic Rock band in the 80s, 2 guitars, bass and drums. Played regularly in the Bay Area during the 80s and 90s. Was hired at the last minute to play up in Northern California, a quaint 4 hour drive from where we were, just less than 24 hours before the gig. We originally were driving up with 3 vehicles, our lead guitar player had just purchased an new truck the day before and on the way all of his oil drained from the truck. We had to leave it and cram the 4 of us, a wife and all the equipment into 2 vehicles. Drove on for hours. Was supposed to start at 9PM at a lodge where the customers had already paid for food, entertainment, etc. We didn't arrive til about 10:15 - 10:30. The people there greeted us joyfully and helped us with getting our equipment in quickly. After about 1 set, our lead singer began losing his voice. I filled in best I could and we managed to get to the end of the night. They had rooms for us (it was some sort of ski lodge) and said we would be paid the following day. The next day as we're planning to leave, no payment. They said we got there too late and we would have to take it up with the agency that hired us at the last minute. We all drove home tired, broke and pissed. I believe this was January 1st, 1986. Awwwwww, the 80s!