Gig Anecdotes is updated regularly, and is dedicated to preserving and sharing the experiences of today's working musician. Lots of music stories: wedding gigs, agents, life on the road, recording sessions, gig horror stories.. and all of these funny gig stories are submitted by our readers! Click ADD YOUR ANECDOTE! to add your story.
I frontman a trio that plays a mix of Texas Rock (think ZZ Top), Motown, Soul, and Blues. We are VERY upbeat and play alot of high energy stuff. A friend of mine who also fronts his own band called and asked if we wanted to play a "private party." The pay was very good and we had the date open so I called the number he gave me. The organizer on the other end remarked that she'd heard great things about our band and after a very brief and straightforward conversation I had the date, times, sets and pay confirmed, but had no other information. we arrived to play the gig at a country club in another smallish town. I met with the organizer of the "party" and she said she'd opened a tab for us at the bar that SHE would pay at the end of the night. Food and Drinks where on her. "NICE!", I thought. We sat up our PA and instruments and had an hour and a half before we were to start playing to go to the country club bar, have a few beers, and one of the best hamburgers I've ever had. When we reported back to the organizer we were all feeling good and ready to play our asses off. The thought occurred to me to ask the organizer while we were waiting "so what kind of party is this?" she replied "Oh, its not a party. Its CANCER SURVIVORS BANQUET AND FUNDRAISER." She walked off and the band stood there a little bewildered and thought "it's cool, we can do this."
We walked to the stage to start and were tuning our instruments and the organizer asked to use the mic. I asked her if she wanted us to sit down but she insisted we stay on the stage. She said, "before we begin we are going to watch a video that we've put together." The lights dropped and a large projection screen behind the stage began to play a 10 minute video of all the people that had died since the banquet the year before. by the time it ended the whole crowd was teary eyed, some where even sobbing, and one woman could be heard wailing from the hall, just outside the doors. the lights flipped back on and the organizer again asked to use the mic. she gave a short speech about fund raising for the local children's clinic and showed another video of kids that were being treated at the clinic. again, the lights flipped on and there were sobs and sniffs and tears all over the place. While the second video was playing the organizer left the stage, so when the lights flipped back on we stood there wide eyed and with no idea what to do. i looked to the organizer and she gave a signal that seemed to say "well, get on with it!"
i said a few short words about celebrating life and how we were here to honor those couldn't be here with us and tried to turn the momentum to the happy side. i guess it worked. we went into our set and by the 10th song people were dancing and laughing. Those that stuck around tipped us quite a bit and the organizer told me they'd raised more money that year than they ever had and even asked us to come back next year. We were happy to be involved and look back on it now with good memories, but the momentum swing was a heck of a thing to turn at a moment's notice.
moral of the story: get as much info as possible before taking a gig. 0_o.