SomerFEST, Somerset PA – Dan May

we’ve got a bit of a rotating drummer thing going on in dan’s band right now…sharing the talents of mike beeson, tommy geddes, and abe spellar at any given time.  i don’t think we’ve used any one of them for two gigs in a row in recent memory.  the silver lining is that all three of them are phenomenal drummers, and they all bring something very cool to the table.

beeson was on this date, and was in rare form as well.  we all met up at a rest stop on the turnpike just outside greensburg to exchange parking passes and such, and mikey wanted to know how i’d made such good time on foot when i walked over to the van to grab my paperwork. 🙂

the weather was beautiful the whole way out the turnpike…until about twenty miles out of town.  then the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up and the droplets started forming on the windshield.  (murphy, you bastard…)

we waited until we got a break in the rain to hustle our stuff underneath the tent, where a period-attire german polka band was playing, complete with a clarinetist who could have been danny thomas’ own personal Mini-Me (complete with matching stature).

we were without heather, and in my less-than-optimal respiratory state, we knew that vocals were going to be dicey, at best, but in retrospect it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  dennis was hedging on parts here and there, but kurman really shone.   he and i found ourselves in deja vu mode a couple of times, flashing back to our brief time together in the barley boys when we used to step on each others’ parts because we hadn’t found our way around where we were supposed to fall just yet.

it was also my first dan gig with the new vibrolux, which probably would have sounded better had i been more thorough and gotten a better check, as opposed to a “yep, it’s definitely on” kinda soundcheck.  as it stood, it was a little harsh on the steel, and by the time i came to that conclusion, it was really too late to do much about it.  it certainly could have been much worse, though.   note to self:  dan may is a deluxe reverb kinda gig.  no vibrolux necessary.

on the way home, before even getting out of somerset, i got a call from kurm, letting me know that the turnpike was closed and that we were being detoured onto highway 31 east.  i was initially bummed, because i figured that’d push me into a 1-2 AM e.t.a. at home, but not long into the trek i was somewhat thankful for the detour…and even more thankful that my camera was elsewhere, as i would’ve likely crashed on the way home taking pictures out the window.

the hour or so that we were off the turnpike and on 31 was at the perfect time of day, as the sun was setting, and cut through a beautiful part of the state.  rolling hills, farmland, cattle, green-ness everywhere.  add to that the warm hue of orange that hung over the countryside that was equal parts post-thunderstorm and sunset, and it just became one of those moments…when the windows are down, the wind is blowing through your hair, and everything – for the time being – is gonna be alright.

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