The Show MUST go on..... war stories.

Posted by: Guitarhacker

The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 11/16/17 06:34 AM

Inspired by Notes Norton's response to what seems to be a troll posting.... I figured that with all the music veterans in here, there has to be some really cool war stories of glitches, mishaps and down right catastrophes at your gigs that prove.... the show must go on.

You can see NN's response in the other post about losing a gig because of PG software.

So.... counting that response as the first .... I offer one of the more "minor" events that might have stopped or crippled a gig, but didn't.


One of the many bands I played in had landed a gig at a local Staff club on a local Air Force Base. About halfway through the show, with a packed room and dance floor, the music seemed to lose it's punch in the room. We took an early break and discovered that we had lost the entire low end of the tri-amped PA. The power amp that drove the bass bins had fried. We reconnected a few things, rearranged a few others and doubled up on the cabinets loading the remaining amp. We pulled a spare guitar amp out and used it to power the horns to make it through the night. Just another night on the road.
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 11/17/17 05:52 AM

The show must go on.

I've got a few stories to tell about this so I'll start with this one.

I carry spare cables two wind synths (because they can cover guitar, sax, and synth parts), a spare mic, spare computer and anything I can carry but I can't carry everything - just almost everything.

We bring 3 computers up and running at all times on stage, and we only need two. On a gig, the hard drive of the computer that plays my backing tracks started to make a grinding noise. I quickly switched the USB->Audio cable to the up and running spare, and finished the gig. Not a single person other than my duo partner, Leilani knew we were in trouble for a few seconds. The next day I replaced the hard drive so I would still have a spare computer up and running.

I also carry mp3s (192k) on a flash drive so if a failed computer is not repairable, all I have to do is get a new one, and it's ready to go with Windows Media Player.

I always try to keep my gear in good working order, but sometimes the gear will quit with no warning, so I try to keep covered for the most frequent causes of failure (cables), and everything that is practical after that (computers, sound modules, instruments, etc.)

The show MUST go on. All this is cheap insurance because in most places, if you blow the gig, you not only do not get paid for that gig, but you lose plenty of additional gigs - word of mouth travels fast among entertainment purchasers.

Insights and incites by Notes
Posted by: DSM

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 11/21/17 05:43 AM

I am a church sound person and work all events that may use the sound equipment. We allow outside weddings - rent the space but the party brings in their own preacher, musicians, and planner. You would be surprised the amount of forgotten stuff musicians did not bring with them.

I keep a pretty good supply of cables, etc. for all events now.

...Deb
Posted by: Deryk - PG Music

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 11/21/17 08:41 AM

I remember in my late teens I used to perform at open mics to "warm up" before I started getting on formal stages and doing paid performances. It was my way of overcoming the dreaded stage fright, as well as teaching myself how to interact with an audience. It's worth mentioniong, I am exclusively a singer and producer. I play a little bit of piano by ear, but I am nowhere close to being able to sing and accompany myself in a live setting. And hence, I would sing these open mic sets to a backing track I produced, by playing them out of my phone.

So I was at this open mic for what I think was my second ever performance, and my cousin let me borrow a cable he had so I could hook up my phone with their PA system. In retrospect, I should have tested that cable. But amateur 18 year old me didn't. Of course, the cable barely worked. I had to hold it on the tip a certain way or it would fade out on one side and make a nasty clipping sound. There was a piano and guitar there - but, I couldn't play them! So, for my whole 15-20 minute set I desperately clasped onto this broken cable for dear life. It only clipped out two or three times, luckily! But man - my hand was shaking for an hour after, and my hand was sore for like a week. Just because of this cursed wire.

I've since learned to ALWAYS test what I use. Boy, I sure don't miss those days. That's how you learn though!
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 11/21/17 11:42 AM

I used a 50w 2 tube (6L6) amp for a time. I got to one job and started to set up. Turned the amp on and started to warm up.... really bad fuzzy sound..... then it blew the circuit breaker in it. Reset and it did it again. Checked the tubes.... found a broken glass envelope on one of the tubes. One hour to showtime.... dang....

Amp won't run on one tube and there were no music stores anywhere close or open at that day and time.... Saturday night.... 8pm. No spare tubes in my junk bag and no one else in the band used a tube amp so no need to even ask.

Someone suggested a stereo store that did audio repair and was open until 9pm. Jump in the van and hightail it to the store.... yep... they had a 6L6 .... paid the man and out the door and back to the club. Popped that sucker in the amp.... fired it up and waaa laaaa, sweet tube sound again. Just in time to start the first set with a few seconds...literally, to spare.

Lesson learned.... carry spare tubes because you never know when a roadie is going to drop the amp and crack a tube envelope.
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 11/21/17 06:41 PM

It was January in Florida and a cold front moved through. We were on the back porch of a waterfront home, and the temperature dropped to the 50s and a steady fine mist of a rain was falling. It had been 80 degrees a few hours ago so there was condensation on everything.

All of a sudden my wind synth went out of tune - not just a little out of tune, but probably close to a tritone. I picked up the sax to finish the song and got the spare wind synth out for the next song. It was working fine.

I sent the broken one in to get fixed, but by the time it got to the repair shop it had dried out and was working perfectly.

A case where always carrying two wind controllers came in handy.

The wind controller can cover sax and guitar parts so I don't have to bring another sax and guitar, but I bring 2 wind controllers and two of the most important sound modules.

Of course, extra reeds for the sax, extra strings for the guitar, and at least one spare of every cable we use.

I now have 3 wind controllers so that if one needs to get sent in for repair, I still have a working one and a spare.

Insights and incites by Notes
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 11/26/17 05:25 PM

Late 1960s playing at a USMC NCO club.

During a break one of the guitar amplifier tubes flaked out and the amplifier started broadcasting Radio Cuba!

Quick run to the stage to turn off THAT amplifier for the rest of the night.
Posted by: Al-David

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 12/07/17 11:51 AM

Jim,

I had a similar thing happen to me. My band was playing a small club in suburban St. Louis in the 1960s - we had a Wed-Fr-Sat sit down gig. One night ... and it's the only time it ever happened ... our PA (one of those old vinyl padded Kustoms) picked up the local police station radio. We literally could not do the show as every time we turned up the mic volume, as you would expect, the police radio volume increased the same amount. We turned off the PA in order that, what we assumed might be transmissions not intended for the general public, would not be audible. It would have been interesting to listen in, but we didn't. Fortunate for us, the owner of the club was generous enough to pay us anyway.

Alan
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: The Show MUST go on..... war stories. - 12/08/17 06:20 AM

We were playing outdoors for the grand opening of an office in a building next door to an AM radio station.

The station leaked into their phones and everything, plus our PA system. And it was loud through the PA.

Thinking fast I spied a copper water pipe near the building. I took electronics in college, so I knew it would be earth ground.

Next I went to my car, got out my jumper cables, clipped one side to the rack (I don't use washers so the gear is all grounded to the rack) and the other to the water pipe.

Radio station gong, gigged was saved.

Notes