with skip denenberg at sellersville theater, opening for don mclean

i love my boy skip denenberg. and i love playing with him.

i don’t, however, love having to tune a handful of instruments down to E Flat. 🙂

seriously, skip’s songs are a pleasure to play, and while it’s a bit of extra work – it’s usually worth it. skip doesn’t play live a great deal, so it’s not the burdensome PITA that i like to make him think it is…he takes my grumbling with a grain of salt, anyway.

this was one of the sellersville backline shows – one that required that we bring certain items needed by the headliner (in this case, singer-songwriter don mclean, for two shows…at 3 and 8pm). since we were – originally, anyway – doing the show as a trio with skip, myself, and percussionist tommy geddes – the venue was supplying the stuff we didn’t have available to us, which included a bass rig for don’s bassist.

as we were setting up, skip made mention of the fact that it was too bad we didn’t have a bass player, and i half-jokingly asked (well within earshot of ST94 technical director daniel faga) – “well, do you want a bass player?”

skip said, “sure…do you have one?”

i pointed up at dan on the ladder and said, “i sure do…right there on the ladder.”

i don’t think skip had any idea that i had that immediate a response…but he was a trooper about it. we actually had dan come down and run through a couple of skips’ tunes during soundcheck to see how it would flesh out, and dan passed with flying colors (of course). in fact, skip was enthralled with him almost from the outset.

(it should be mentioned that this isn’t the first time that dan has been snagged as an impromptu bassist at sellersville…he’s done so a number of times before, most recently with michelle shocked as of that particular performance…so it wasn’t as if dan was being caught off guard when i singled him out from up there on the ladder.)

we ran through the five or so songs skip was doing in bits and pieces during soundcheck, and we all went upstairs to refine some of the changes and such before going on…and – props to dan – he did a great job during the first set. after we turned the stage over following the first set, we listened to a bit of the headliners’ set before we went over to grab a bite to eat. the second set, once dan had the run-through of the first set behind him…was even better than the first. tommy and dan were a natural fit for one another, and they locked in from the outset – but i think that having the first show behind him let dan settle into the tunes a little bit, and he really knocked it outta the park for the second show.

skip doesn’t actively seek out gigs, for the most part, and it was a pleasure to get him into a big room like this and play his music for an unsuspecting audience and hear their reaction. i could tell that it energized him quite a bit. plus, since the headliner had requested use of my gretsch 6120 chet atkins as part of the backline rider, i got to play my chet onstage…it’s not a guitar i normally take out for gigs, but since it was there… 🙂

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