THE SHOW IS TOODAY! Amazing day that reminded me how lucky I am to play trumpet all the time and let that take me places.
Regardless of how sometimes things can feel difficult, uncomfortable, tiring, or as if others are unhappy with your performance, a positive mindset makes an entire world of difference. I know that I'm here to do my best, and that if I wasn't qualified i wouldn't get the gig in the first place. I advise everyone who's ever doubted themselves or felt insufficient because of what other people tell them.. stop and realize that you do what you do... nobody else does... and if they did, they'd be in your shoes instead. Sure other people are always smarter, better looking, and more talented, but you're here and you're doing the job. So own it and be the best you can be!
Woke up feeling a little sleepy still, but the gym never fails to make me feel better even if it's 30 minutes. Today, however, I got a text from Nathan around 10 that the production office wanted us to meet at the events center at 1115 to load our luggage on the bus! This was a full two hours sooner than I expected, so I got a little bit rushed. Had some egg white omelettes and salad, then speed packed.. I have a bag that holds everything I'll need for the day and for once I'm on the bus so that I don't have to open my luggage. Made it down with everything, and went to go pick up the valve oil and replacement GOPRO charger that arrived early thankfully. The man managing the business center hadn't yet picked up the shipment even after telling me would! Anyway, they showed us the tour bus, it got me pretty excited honestly... full bunks, lounges, fridge, bathroom, TVs, etc. Set our stuff down in our bunks- rule number one for us was to not poop on the bus!! Agreed. There was a small amount of snacks in there- the fridge is stocked with yogurt and fruit and whatnot- excited to be able to grocery shop possibly hehe- there's a Target by our next stop in New Jersey.
We then split up a bit- Nathan and Steve went to eat and I went to get my packages (finally... it did mean having to brave the smoke filled casino again). Then warmed up on the bus- 'I was the only one there. I was having a little conundrum with the trumpet thang...needed a solid warmup to have the endurance for the day, but my lips were resisting the effort I was putting into range. Ultimately only got up to about a high B.
Went to get some food at the employee dining hall again- multiple small meals in the morning usually does me right. Call time was 115- the three of us met up and headed backstage. Backstage always has water and fruit and tea- basic hospitality stuff that always keeps the vibe comfortable. On tunes we don't play we sit stage left back by the sound guy- and we wait for the bandleader to call something that we play on. Oh and also I guess the cat is out of the bag about who I'm touring with- yep it's John Fogerty's band. John is a seriously inspiring man- he’s so full of energy and positive encouragement. The music still makes him giddy to this day- playing rock-n-roll for him is just as fresh and exciting as it was when he was in his early twenties. His voice is still strong, too.
We play on Travelin’ Band, the opener, and start the set right away after the band plays free on E for a while. That’s the easiest song. Next we play “Long as I Can See the Light”- lots of pads, Nathan has a solo. That song requires some focus on playing in tune that’s about it. Then it’s ‘New Orleans’… part of the bayou section of the show. That’s where we go out and walk through the full crowd in a circle playing ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’…. Whoa that was an experience. We march ‘kinda’ in time, but I’m just speed walking to keep up most of the time. During rehearsal, all of ZZ Top’s gear was in the way of the edge of the stage so we couldn’t really practice it- luckily it went smoothly at the show. Last song we do is Proud Mary… I really like playin that one! That’s our closer of the set. Soundcheck was pretty smooth- John wanted to add us in on another song, “Psycho”, but we opted to wait until next show to learn it.
After soundcheck it was around 430, and we had two hours to kill before we went to dinner. I’m excited to have a lot of free time to work on and think about music… keeping it structured is the real challenge. I’m keeping the goals pretty simple right now- my health and my performance are coming first until I get into a real good rhythm. After dinner we went back to the bus- I had a great chat with Dave the guitar tech about humanity’s likelihood of destroying themselves because of our history of cultural oppression to gain power and status. Before the show we were in limbo for quite a while- we didn’t really have a place to relax before playing. We stayed in a little space by the dressing rooms that ZZ Top were using, but someone quickly told us that we should move as soon as they finish playing. I was antsy sitting so much- listened to music and paced the building. Getting lots of encouragement from the rest of the crew though- and the band! They’re all chill with us even though they’re world famous- and that really makes it feel cool, like I’m one of them. Finally it was time around 935 to head to stage left, get our mics hooked up, and prep for the first tune. Before we started, Dusty Hill (yes.. theee Dusty Hill) came and introduced himself to us- he was a really nice guy, told us to have a great show!!! Venue was ALMOST sold out, but not all the way- 2400 or so people. John really impressed me with his stage presence. Wow does he know how to be a badass. Everyone’ dressed like rock stars, Kenny’s got his arms showing, Bob Malone has his vest on. For the first song there wasn’t a single bit of horns in our monitors!! Our mics were working but we couldn’t hear ourselves at all… got it fixed by the second song thankfully. It was a real entertaining show to watch, but I couldn’t help feeling a little lethargic back there, watching everyone else have a great time onstage and not really getting to participate for more than four songs. I know that it’s still remarkable that I’m there and I’m grateful for that. As I said before, our performance went well- my chops didn’t quite hold on for Proud Mary, but it’s been a long day and I can’t focus on the negatives especially when so much good is going on!! Playing ‘When the Saints’ in the crowd was so fun- we might use in-ear microphones next time so we can hear the band better. We finished the show 25 minutes late, and with that we were done! Felt really quick to be honest, but I was also very happy to get this first show done with and behind me. Now we can start the real grind- I’m sitting on the bus typing alone at 1 AM. Nate and Steve went to eat and the crew is tearing down until 4 or 5- that’s when we’ll drive off to the next stop. I’m excited for the tour bus life. Can’t believe I’ll still be here in five weeks. At this point I need to brush the teeth and head to sleep! I’m sure I’ll be woken up when the whole crew gets back, but we have curtains to pull across the bunks. OK.. let’s end this horrendously long post right now!