One Weird Gig

28 May 2019

Looking Back at the Gigs We’ve Done…….

……..I get the usual warm and fuzzy feelings that I get when I think of how good the music of John Denver is and how lucky I am to be in a band that is dedicated to performing it and how fortunate we are that people still want to hear his music.

Sometimes there is an exception.

We found ourselves in a “party” situation where the noise from the audience seemed louder than our usual more-than-adequate sound system.  Actually, the bar was situated right next to the stage and the noise from the talkers overwhelmed the sound coming out of our monitors. 

To explain: the monitors are there onstage with us so we can hear ourselves and the other band members. Monitor sound checks are done before the show begins (not really something you want the audience to hear while you are setting up) and our sound check went beautifully…everything was working properly and the sound level onstage was very comfortable.

The speakers are out in the audience so the audience can hear the band.  I have no doubts that the speakers were loud enough for the audience…plenty loud. I know that because when our show began, the people in the bar next to us started shouting at each other.  Some of the shouters decided to move right in front of the stage and continued their very loud conversations between us and the listening audience. What were they talking about?  I’m not sure, because I was concentrating on doing my job. 

My job is to sing harmony in tune with the lead singer, and to play my instrument in sync with the band.  Further (and more subtle) my job is to appear relaxed and happy, and sing to each audience member as if he of she were the only person in the room and as if singing to that one person is the only reason I am on earth and the greatest joy I have in life at that moment.   My job is normally as natural and easy as falling off a log, but now I am falling off a cliff!  I can’t hear myself, I can barely hear Jim – I did not set my monitor loud enough and now I am a singer that is deaf and distracted.   

Why were they yelling?  Why were they there?  This is not something we usually encounter at our shows, and obviously something I was not prepared for.   Do they find it a better music experience to carry on a conversation while they are standing in front of very loud speakers while the band is playing songs they obviously didn’t want to listen to?  Is it not rude to the people sitting behind them trying to listen while they are standing and yelling in front of them?  I don’t understand this, but luckily…… I looked up.

I looked up beyond the screaming mee mees, beyond the bar  – and far, far away in festival seating I saw a lady in a red coat, singing “Higher Ground” along with us, word for word.  Knowing that she was a John Denver fan (Higher Ground is a lesser-known John Denver song)  I focused on her… she was the only person in the room, the reason I was there on Earth and my greatest joy in life. 

Thank you lady. You saved the show for me and I did my best for you.  We try to avoid the “party” shows….but sometimes it happens.  I will never understand why people come to a show then use it for background music to their important conversations, but on that night, I was lucky to focus on someone who came to listen.

PS…normally our ENTIRE audience comes to listen and to sing along… we thank you!

Comments

  1. Posted by: Bob Smith

    Anne – I am NOT a fan of IEMs (in ear monitors) – as I enjoy hearing the room (in our case Worship) sing along with us. IEM’s can be so sterile for me as a bassist. But this would be a time when IEM’s would have helped! I would love to get your brothers take on this as well! Blessings to you, Jim and family!
    Bob

  2. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Bob, I like to hear the room too – but you are so right, IEMs would have helped! Personal monitor systems are the best, where you can adjust your sound during the show without having to try to do sign language to the sound guy…Avioms are great.

  3. Posted by: Pat Sladky

    I sure would have been listening! I am sorry you had this unfortunate experience. Some people just don’t have a clue. I can’t wait to see you in August when you perform at Sun City Lincoln Hills–a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday!

  4. Posted by: Anne

    I KNOW you would be listening Pat! Outdoor gigs are noisy and can be fun, especially if little kids are romping around or people are dancing! I just have to remember to turn up my monitor!

  5. Posted by: Randy Johnson

    Hoping to see you in Wautoma Wisconsin again , please let me know when that might occur!
    We now have a Fine-Arts Center in Adams-Friendship Wisconsin which is 45 minutes west of Wautoma. Down side is not as many dining options. Will certainly make the drive to Wautoma for our 3rd super-enjoyable evening out with the “Curry’s” Thanks for the newsletter!
    Sincerely,
    Randy & Nona Johnson

  6. Posted by: Anne

    We certainly would love to return to Wautoma! The best way to know when we will be in town is to watch our website calendar or look at the list at the bottom of our newsletter. Dates are added all the time and we will add Wautoma if we get invited to play there again! Thank you!!

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Testimonials

"It was a heavenly evening of beautiful music, a shining tribute to John Denver, one of which I believe Denver himself would salute."...

R.V. Hight
The Sanford Herald, Greensboro, NC

"The physical resemblance is amazing: the voice is unbelievable. If John Denver were alive today, he'd want to hear his songs performed by Jim Curry."

Christina Chanes Nystrom
City News

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