Friday, September 12, 2008

What Happened Last Night?!!

Up in good time this morning. A quick bite in the empty hotel dining room and back to my suite where my phone is ringing. I pick it up. It’s Festival Director Brent Staeben. I can tell he’s upset about something. “What happened last night?!!” he demands. I can’t imagine what this is about. We spent a quiet night in our rooms. I tell him, “nothing happened! What’s this all about?” I feel panic. We are nothing less than professional in all our dealings with everyone. Brent responds “you didn’t show up for your concert last night!”

Now I’m totally bewildered. I’ve got my festival lanard with our individual, festival provided schedule printed on the back. No Thursday show. I’ve got the Festival Program. No Thursday show. I’ve got the daily newspaper with the Festival Schedule. No Thursday show. Brent informs me that the show is listed in the contract we signed last June. I grab the Tourbook. Yup, there it is. I wonder how many people came out to hear us at this secret concert, that only the Festival Director, the stage manager, and ourselves were to know about? Brent says not to worry, there’s nothing we can do about it now. But, yes, I should of caught this one. A simple question “are we doing any shows which are not listed on our personal schedules, in the programme, or in the newspaper?” would have prevented the whole incident. And I could of compared my actual contract to the schedule given to us… Anyway, too late now, and we have work to do.

Out to the truck and off to our first show of the day, a free outdoor show at King’s Landing. We arrive about an hour and a half early, and do a couple of media interviews at the coffeeshop across the street from the stage. Then it’s our turn, and away we go.
We’ve got a good sized crowd gathered, maybe a couple of hundred people spilling off the square and onto the street.

They are good listeners, and a bunch linger after the show to buy cd’s and talk. It’s a very warm and friendly town, and we’ve enjoyed meeting so many people.

We got to sign the big cymbal for Sabian, one of the Festival sponsors.

Load up, back to the Delta Hotel to set up for our next show and to have a late lunch/early dinner. By showtime the place is pretty crowded, and quite a few people have made the trip from downtown to see us. Our friend Trevor, a real blues fan from Toronto, has come out to see us and has brought friends. That's what the table looked like. And here's Trev himself—
A good show tonight. Michael and I can hear one and other pretty well, and we’ve got this PA working as good as it’s going to. We’re quite relaxed and have fun. We raffle off a Tour Jacket at half time. The winner is delighted (they always are, these are very cool coats).
We finish up at 8:PM and are met by festival volunteers who help us out the door with our gear, and drive us to the HooDoo Tent, where we’ll be performing in just a few minutes time. I wonder if the festival has sent these fine folks over tonight to make sure we show up for tonight’s concert! No roadies or drivers appeared for last night's secret show.

We arrive at the backstage area of the HooDoo Tent and this is more like it. There are a few hundred people crowded in. Beer is flowing. Food. Backstage they have sandwich plates, beer, water and juice for us. Much appreciated! Here we are setting up.
What the hell am I doing with a camera on stage when I should be doing a line check? That's a blogger's life.
Before we know it we’re onstage and I’m smacking into the first few bars of “Jinx Blues.” People are yelling and clapping. This is going to be a good night, for sure. Michael tells the sound guys to turn it up, and they do. Everybody on their feet at the end, so I guess we done it right. We're soaking wet when we come off stage, and the stage helpers have little white towels for us. I could get used to this.
Festival photographer John MacDermid snapped this one.

Michael gets a ride back to our distant hotel— back still hurting— while I decide to catch some of the festival. A block away I stop by to see my old friend Morgan Davis. We talk for a while and then I catch a set. Morgan is King. I am always amazed at how wonderful a player he is. If you don’t know Morgan , look him up on the Google. He’s an Electro-Fi recording artist, and one of the finest contemporary blues artists working today. He says he came by to hear our outdoor show earlier in the day, but didn't want to bother us as we were busy signing cds. A real gentleman. Next I wander down to the big tent, where I believe Buddy Guy may be playing. I run into local promoter Jamie Steele and we chat for a few minutes in the rain. Somebody says they’ll get me in backstage, but I elect to walk down the street and see Fredericton sensation Matchstick Mike. I’ll have no trouble getting in to his show. True enough. I’m welcomed into the crowded venue and enjoy a set of Mike’s great singing and guitar playing.

Finally, I head back to the Hoodoo Tent to enjoy some pizza and catch an old New Brunswick band called the Freightliners. They are great fun. Maybe not famous or touring, but they can really play. More in a rock groove, but cool and fun. They obviously had a huge local following. Caught the shuttle back to the Delta, got the Tour truck, and was in bed pretty early compared to most. A nice, festival day. Downtown Fred and this festival are amazing. It’s great just to walk around and hear the music coming from every pub, club, venue and tent— not to mention the buskers. I heard one kid who could really play the harmonica. Brent probably heard him, too. So maybe he’ll be on the bill sometime in the future.

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