dan may at the kennett flash

it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that all of us were a little nervous going into the show – based on what had happened with the john lilley show on opening weekend.

knowing dan as well as i do, i should have taken tommy aside after the gig and conspired to keep that whole thing a secret – because i should’ve known that it’d be a concern going into the show, and that dan would worry about it before we got in there…and worry he did.

‘course, that probably was compounded by the fact that one of his guitarists (yours truly) missed soundcheck.

i had planned to leave work at 3:30, and had that option taken off my plate by some last minute hijinks at work that left all our citrix users forced offline, and i had to stick around until we got that cleared up. but i managed to leave much earlier than i would’ve been able to had i worked until 5 anyway – and yet it still took me an hour and 45 minutes to get to kennett square. the stretch of 202 that runs from the junction at route 100 to the route 1 intersection was bumper to bumper, and i sat there in that mess for 45 minutes. what took me five minutes to traverse with no traffic just killed me for this trip.

so, yeah. i was late. dan was not pleased.

and, probably needless to say, neither was i. in fact, i’d dare say that i was even less pleased than dan was.

with the ric 12 string onstage with dan may
with the ric 12 string onstage with dan may

the opener was soundchecking when i got there, so i brought my gear up to the door at the green room and began unpacking and getting myself together, tuning, running cables and such so that i could get my stuff onstage relatively quickly once they were done. they finished, and the doors were opening, so i just put everything into place and told kenny, the soundman, that we’d do a quick line check before dan’s set started and we’d be good to go.

so, once everything was up and in place, i went into the green room, plopped down on the sofa and just closed my eyes and tried to decompress from the nerve-wracking drive. thankfully, there was an opening act and that meant that i had some time to cool off and regain some composure. if i’d had to set up and go right onstage at the point that i got there, it would’ve been a significantly different show than it ultimately turned out to be.

dan convened everyone in the back hallway for a quick vocal rehearsal of some of the parts that we’ve been putting under the microscope of late – we’ve added some of the songs that were nigh impossible to pull off, vocally, back into the set – “roll”, specifically, among a couple others – and we wanted to make sure that we still had our parts committed to memory. while we were back there, i mentioned to the gang that dewey martin, the drummer from buffalo springfield, had passed away earlier in the week, and that we should do “for what it’s worth” as an encore, if we got the chance. so dan and i ran through it very briefly…maybe thirty seconds of it…and prepared to go out for our set.

"there's something happenin' here...."
"there's something happenin' here...."

for this show, we’d talked specifically about bringing back some songs that we hadn’t done in a while – or ever – and moving some of the songs that we did on a regular basis off the setlist for a little while…in the interest of keeping the show fresh for people who were regulars. and yeah, it was my idea. i just thought that perhaps people who were coming to the shows might like to hear some of the other, deeper tracks on the records, and that maybe we could get through a night without “melinda” or “it all comes down” and make room for some new stuff. i did miss playing them, though…

so we went out to a sold-out room and played our asses off…and it was good.

i didn’t know about this until afterward, but apparently there was a woman passing notes to anthony, asking him to turn his amp down. this happened at least twice, from what dan said…and anthony isn’t one of those people who plays too loud to begin with, so i don’t know what her issue was – i’m guessing that she was just one of those perpetually unhappy souls who ended up there because she was the opening acts’ aunt or something. i dunno.

beneath the very blue lights at kennett flash
beneath the very blue lights at kennett flash

either way, i’m not sure what the outcome of that battle was…but we got through the show with smiles on everyones’ faces – everyone played well, everyone in the audience seemed happy (happy enough for two encores), and it took the room a long time to empty out. bob and ellen behlke from scranton/wilkes-barre were there yet again – so i guess my commute doesn’t really stand up, if i’m looking for something to whine about. everything sounded good, everyone was in good spirits – even with the sound issues that i knew somehow we’d have, it went over really well. we went out for the first encore and did “fate” and “tupelo”, and then dan walked off and i summoned everyone to positions and started playing the intro riff from “for what it’s worth”…and we had the song well underway when dan walked back out onstage.

and yes – we tore it up. 🙂

and to make matters even more interesting, dan turned to anthony afterward and had him kick into “chico and the man”, and dan sang the shit out of it.

i walked offstage laughing and shaking my head. i couldn’t believe we actually pulled that off.

after the show, anthony comes over to me with a familiar looking gig-bag – familiar because it was identical to the one he’d packed his G# guitar in when he loaned it to me, some weeks back (and, it has to be mentioned, has yet to receive it back, as of this date). it contained another G# guitar, this one set up for slide and tuned for lap steel use.

he had asked his friend who makes them to put one together especially for me.

you can really close out a night any better than that.

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