Gigs look a lot more glamorous than they really are, and, more importantly, they last for about as third as long as an average rehearsal. For Friday’s show we rehearsed four and a half hours. The actual set lasted thirty minutes, but the whole time we were out amounted to seven hours from the moment we stepped out of our house to the moment we loaded the gear back in. Time is everything and yet, nothing. One of the greatest obstacles I hear from people who are older (I’ll say, over 30) who want to learn to play an instrument is that they have ‘no time.’ I often agree. It takes time. And yet, once a gig is over, I don’t often regret the time I spent preparing for the show or the show itself. It’s worth the time I spend on it. In general, learning the drums has taught me to spend the time doing things I love or want to learn. I used to spend a lot of time doing things I ‘had’ to do, but as I grew older, I learned to say ‘no’ to those things (you now, parties for co-workers or clients, obligatory visits to people I did not know well, shopping trips that I did not want to take, etc). Gigs have even offered”reasons” for not attending these social gatherings. “I have a gig” has saved me from more endlessly dull evenings than I can remember. But more importantly, the time I have spent on learning to play the drums, the hours in with the practice pad, repays me well in thirty minutes, a fraction of the time I spent getting to that stage.

Rehearsal at Superior Street

Friday’s show was not a bad show — it was a great one. The opening acts, Bill Liggett and Sam Saunders, did great sets that primed the audience for us. They were so good, that at one moment, when Bill was seeing a song he wrote for his son called “Number One,” I forgot I was playing later. Now, that’s a real gift in a night — to be able to enjoy the other musicians enough that I forget my own concerns about playing.

on stage

The other feature of the show was that we drew an audience. People who have heard the CD and know us came out to hear us play live. If you’re not a musician grasping the import of this may be difficult. This is what it means for us: for the first time in a lot of months, we played to people who liked us. We were not playing to people who had never heard of us before and didn’t care we weren’t playing. The ‘reality’ of gigging for your average musician is that most gigs are in small bars and clubs with little or no audiences. We’ve played just for a bartender more than once, so the gratification that comes with an audience is not missed by us. This doesn’t mean that we don’t think the empty room still isn’t in our future. It probably is, but at least, for one night, the first night in a long time, there was enthusiasm in the audience. We are grateful to everyone who came out. It gives us a hope. So, thanks.

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