Posted by: normanlgreen | March 31, 2012

Dream, March 31, 2012 In memory of a free festival


Dream, home, 9 am

Old musician friends have been invited to reform their band for an outdoor festival. They are unsure what has happened to their old bass player, so they invite me to sit in for the short set. They are to open the festival, so there is little risk of many people being present for my blunders. I like the idea, as I play the bass so infrequently – also I am touched by their invitation.

We meet in an old nightclub where we played as kids – only someone has bought light bulbs for the place, so the shabby walls and ceiling are visible. We talk about their set list as we leave the building and walk toward the festival grounds.

The stage is built as an external extension to a large performance center of red brick. We step across the stage and enter the main structure through a door in the back right corner of the little platform. Inside, we climb into a fancy freight elevator of polished aluminum, the walls of which rise to my shoulder height – this is topped by two strands of razor wire – to keep people from climbing over the sides while in transit. We ride to the top floor. On they way, the drummer informs us that our equipment has been delayed, but should be here in time for us to go on stage. We enter a large dressing room, where I find a urinal and empty my bladder. While I am generating the noise at the receptacle, the guitarist speaks his way through the arrangement for the opening number (sorry I did not get to record this earlier, as all of the songs had intriguing names). I ask him to wait until I can hear him clearly. Once I have completed my maintenance, he starts to describe the arrangement – a process that he finds helpful. I interrupt him with questions about key changes (it stays in A) and shifts in feel – he gives up trying to explain.

We ride a different elevator to the ground floor and pass out through a door. The stage is now across a muddy field, so we trudge across it, hoping that our gear has been delivered. As I step over a wide puddle, gravity loses some of its hold on me. I resist the temptation to float to our destination – need to save my energy for what matters.

On stage, technicians set-up the amplifiers – beefy rigs with too many cabinets for my taste. I ask “Should I cover up my ignorance with volume?” no one confirms or denies the theory. The power supply seems inadequate to the amplifiers. I scrounge around behind the speaker cabinets hoping to find more power outlets. I realize that I see no sign of the instruments. Will we have a chance to tune? To practice the first lead-in?

 

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