Ron the Drummer and I gathered our equipment as quickly as we could and moved it indoors. Tonight's Creative Chaos gig, benefitting the homeless, was supposed to take place in the patio area of downtown Tucson's Z Mansion. However, the wind had kicked up something fierce and it looked as though it would rain any second. Volunteers brought in chairs from the outside and lined them up in rows.
I was bummed. Audiences can be, for lack of a better word, fragile. Give them any excuse to leave and they often will. Wind and possible showers aside, the weather had been perfect for an outdoor concert. I imagined that people would end up hanging out on the patio or just going home.
But they didn't. Coming off of a great performance from Black Man Clay, many of them gravitated indoors, where the rest of the music would be.
Next up was Thomas and Davis. Cathy Thomas sang. Doug (I think it was Doug) Davis played keyboard. Ron, who had set up his kit to the side of the makeshift stage, spontaneously accompanied them on drums, sounding as though he'd been rehearsing with their band from the beginning. They did high-energy, heartfelt covers of songs in a bunch of different genres.
The crowd ate it up. I ate it up. I also attempted not to let the duo intimidate me. We've performed after extremely talented musicians plenty of times, but most of them play guitar and don't invite direct comparison. Fortunately, it was pretty easy to lose myself in their music. At one point, some of the audience were literally dancing in the aisles. I know "literally" is a much-abused word these days, but literally literally. They were out of their seats and bopping around the room.
Then it was our turn. My fears about not measuring up began to dissipate with the first song. The crowd was into it. They were looking at us, some intently, smiling, swaying. They liked everything we did.
After so many atmosphere gigs, feeding off that energy, pouring it back into the music, and giving it back was such a treat.
Afterwards, we didn't just get compliments. People HUGGED us. I had forgotten to bring our big stash of CDs, but we sold out the two I carried around in my purse for just such emergencies.
As an added bonus, the musicians who had played before us said they enjoyed us a lot. When people whose music you groove on like you, it's something special.
The event was running late because of the move indoors. But when Amber Gaia's band began, people didn't trickle out. They stayed, listened, sang along. We hung out and did the same.
I got to chat a little with the event's organizers. They were pleased with the way the whole thing had come off. I kept saying how great the energy was. One of them replied, "Yeah. It's a good room."
Exactly right. It was a good room. Every gig should be like this.