Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Recollections and News

Hoo-wah, what a busy weekend, not to mention hot. I actually think I lost about five pounds over the three days alone!

Reflecting back on our three gigs, I first think about what an amazing job Jae's done in booking these shows. (And I get to go home with her, too!) Friday's show in Eustis was an absolute delight and the highlight of the weekend for me, personally. We've performed there before, on a very cold night in February, but it was the anti-cold that day! Set up on the big stage at the end of the street, it was beautiful to walk around prior to our first set, standing on the lakeside pier, having a little coffee, watching the merchants set up their tents and fire up their grills. At one point during our first block of music, I asked the crowd to turn around and look down the street at the smoke billowing from the police department barbecues, the sunlight sparkling off the surface of the lake down a small town street filled with people, balloons, happiness - and the crowd slowly began to applaud. "We're blessed, we're blessed to have this moment," I said. We played three long sets and the final set was when the fireworks went off and I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of making music while the skies filled with such shiny brilliance. As people headed for their cars afterwards, they gathered around the stage in clusters and I played "The Star-Spangled Banner" with Randy and J.D. accompanying. If you were there, you remember - it was a beautiful moment to see all of these people, standing together in unity, raising a cheer and a shout, in celebration of freedom.

The next evening, we set up at 903 Cityside at Lake Eola, and though it didn't seem that the owners had done much in the way of promotion, the band, set up under a white canopy, still pulled in passersby, encouraging them to sit a spell under the trees. The food, which was complimentary, was excellent - especially the vegetarian falafel! It was also an honor to be playing outside in Lake Eola, which is Orlando's beautiful park center and also the site of the show we'd be playing on.......

July 4th. 95 Degrees. The madness was just beginning to bubble as we carted our gear (thankfully NOT having to bring a P.A. with us) down to the bandshell. People everywhere attempted to stay out of the direct sunlight, which was going to be no easy task for us, as the sun was dipping lower to peek right into the mouth of the bandshell. Jae and I walked around to find some grub, admiring all of the beautiful faces and energies that were collecting around the lake. Cox Communications, running the event, had all their radio stations out in the park broadcasting live; a charming hodgepodge of tastes and styles reflecting the folks who took up spots near their favorites. Frisbies flew, Tai-Bo dancers roundhoused, beer flowed, laughter rose into the air, the smells of food mingled with the scents of water, soil and the big cigar that I chomped on as we strolled. Hundreds more bodies arrived by the minute until the edges of the lake swelled with brightly colored swatches of fabric. The first band went on at 4pm, they were called The Day Band. As they wrapped up, the band pre-staged our equipment and prepared to endure the blazing direct heat. All in all - the sound was rather muffled on-stage, making it difficult to hear, so we did what we always do - we lunged into it with teeth, no matter. By the end of "Ring-A-Ding", we were already dripping with sweat. The unrelenting sun cooked one of my strings right out of tune, and I asked the band to groove a little as I retuned for "Black Indian", which led right into "The Star-Spangled Banner". Granted, the response to the latter wasn't as huge as it was in Eustis, but a lot of that had to do with the oppressive heat (people were only sitting where there was shade, frantically fanning themselves with cardboard props handed out by the Orlando Utilities Commission) and probably with a greater dose of jingoistic cynicism than could be found in the small-town American reality of Eustis. As Jae and I watched the fireworks later in the evening, it was a perfect end to a perfect weekend and we rushed home to beat traffic out of the area, flipped on the t.v. and saw Mohave pop up on Channel 6. A nice closing touch. All told, some 100,000 people were there for the festivities - and we were proud to have been a part of it.

We sold 14 CD's over the course of the weekend, and played for literally thousands of people. Through it all - this band worked damn hard, everyone toting gear, playing their hearts out, providing warmth, humor and inspiration. I always love introducing the members of the band because I want the audience to know Bunky, John, Randy and J.D. like I know them - wonderfully talented people with big hearts and eyes that can see far past the horizons of today into the dawns of tomorrow. This weekend featured our last public performances for awhile as Randy and Ann go to Bali to get married; meanwhile, the promotional push continues for "clear blue trickling". "Ring-A-Ding" is currently featured on Insomnia Radio podcast #33 and the band received a nice little write-up at (scroll down the page some):

What an interesting group of musicians. I had to include that little blurb from their MySpace site because they describe it better than I ever could.

Not normally my cup of tea, I can’t help smiling while Mohave plays on the media player. It is fitting that this Orlando band played their first show at Downtown Disney because this music is all about fairs and cotton candy and dancing.

On their MySpace site the song that grabs me is “The Miner, His Music.” Singer Bunky is so playfull, her delivery hits the ear in just the right way.

Thanks for all of the great vibes, from everyone! From those who came out to see us, to those who stayed to listen, from those who bought CDs to those who wore the beads that we tossed into the crowd, from those who have heard the music and have let us know how you feel to those who are sharing those feelings with others - THANK YOU! This is the reason that we make the music - it's a reward unto itself, and we're most happy when the audience is happy!

We're working on getting those pictures up from the weekend - have a great week and stay cool!

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