Last weekend proved to be a memorable one for me. I performed for the first time at a venue in Raleigh. It’s a wonderful café with a welcoming staff and some of the most delicious, fresh food that will make you hurt someone. I honestly had some trepidation about doing the gig because it had been a while since I last performed and the gig was scheduled to last 5 ½ hours! Yes….I said 5 ½ hours! LOL That fact alone had me shaking my head a little beforehand, but I’m always up for a good challenge IF it makes sense. Let me just say that I’m grateful I decided to do it.
I worked with all new musicians except for one who remains one of my favorite musicians to work with period. We practiced a “truck load” of music during rehearsal so I was praying to God that we’d get through everything at the gig without “crashing and burning.” Thankfully the guys jumped knee-deep into the music from the first note and breathed precious life into the songs. We had several funny moments during our three 90 minute sets including being told a couple of times to lower the volume as not to distract the people eating dinner. The beautiful part was that the patrons eating dinner WANTED to hear us play and even stayed for extended periods after they finished eating. I was amazed to look down and see some of the same faces at the end of the second set that I saw during our first set. Not to mention people actually clapped for us without being prompted and then showed us the ultimate “Thank You” by filling up the tip jar.
One of my favorite moments of the night occurred towards the end of the second set when the wait staff cleared away the chairs and tables in front of the stage. Next thing I know there were a few couples dancing joyously to our rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Black Crow.” I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. The musicians and I smiled to one another as we all agreed that we never considered that particular tune a danceable one. However, it was heart-warming to see people so touched by the music that they HAD to get on their feet and dance. That moment signified success for the band in my opinion. We continued to play and have a consistent group of folks on the floor dancing. I think I smiled about 80% of the time watching them enjoy themselves.
Overall I had an extremely positive experience returning to the stage after my hiatus. I was elated that my voice endured such a long gig and that the musicians eagerly joined me in infusing our souls into the music to transport the audience someplace special. I ended my night with the booking agent for the venue asking me to pick a date to come back and perform again! I couldn’t ask for a better ending to a fun-filled night of swinging, honest music.