| Back on the Boards Penn - 10/04/01
The timing was goofy, but
last night was our first public show since 9/11. All the
theaters are hurting really badly. A lot of other shows on
the road just cancelled. At one theater we were third in
the season, now we're first. The other two shows cancelled.
No one is buying tickets, but most of these shows were very
well sold before the tragedy, or they're subscription, so
we're going to have crowds for this tour.
The show was in Princeton and I'm staying in Manhattan. I
didn't go down to "ground zero" and I didn't even look much
at the skyline when I was going in and out. I looked
around. I talked to NYC friends. That seems to be what I
want to do. So, I was driven out to Princeton for the show.
It's a hard show. A really hard show. This meant there was lots of kind of new stuff.
"Looks Simple" to upright and I've been practicing a lot,
but it's too hard for me right now, and I haven't had a
bass to practice for a few days, so I was very worried
about that. We were doing "Cuffed to a Creep" and that
hasn't been a real part of the show since England and that
wasn't for long. We added some 3-ball juggling to the top
of Wizard to help it close the first half and, of course,
Honor System is really new. So there was a lot to think
about. Then, there was the real problem, how had 9/11
changed our stupid little show? How would it feel?
So, I got into the theater and practiced the upright until
my hands hurt and it wasn't enough. I ran "Looks Simple"
and knew that I wasn't going to get the really hard measure
right. But, I was just going to do it and worry. I
juggled the balls for about 5 minutes and figured I'd just
wing it over the top of the patter. They're really nice
new balls, I think they're like 50 bucks each. Man, I'm
rich. 50-dollar balls! My Dad would have gone crazy. How
can you juggle 150 dollars worth of stuff?
We ran Cuffs and that was fine. We ran Honor and that was
fine. I was really sloppy on both of them, but I thought I
could nail them on the day. We ran Polly and man, I
couldn't remember anything. I also knew with all the "god"
and "infinite wisdom" it was going to be odd, but I figured
we'd just see how it went.
My buddies, rob, and Renee were backstage. Rob is taking
my picture for the bass players calendar. Rob's a great
photographer and Renee was helping. It's jazzcat, people,
I got the goatee, my hair is down, and it's all about bass.
Chicks are going to dig it. We ate and it was time for the
show. Man, we started the show, it was sold out and they
seemed jacked for a show. Inflatables was nothing, that's easy
and we've done it a lot lately. Then we hit Polly. Man,
it was like doing the show through an echoplex. I was
running every line through my head and checking it before I
said it. I was trying to spin away from things that could
feel like Islam and pious killers. None of us thought
about Teller putting the cloth over his head. That's a
"virgin" mary joke, . . . yeah, well, it was a "virgin"
mary joke, now it's an Arab joke. I didn't notice it on
stage, I was too busy trying to spin and dance. The
audience dug it, but it was a mindbender to keep all of it
I clammed through the really hard measure of Looks Simple,
but, what the hell, the bass looks and sounds so cool, who
has to play it well? So, that was it. The show was all
done with that echo. By the time we got to Gun, well, man,
I was saying everything three times in my head before I
said it out loud. My head was like the "Way down inside . .
." section of "Whole Lotta Love," and while we're on the
subject, woman, you do need luuuuuuuuvvvvvvvvvvvv.
But, the crowd loved it. We went over very well. Renee
and rob couldn't see my mind echoes on my face, so that was
good. The little girls after the show thanked me for
putting in the reference to D-12 because that was "soooo
cool." And to think years ago I was talking about MC
Hammer there. "Knock knock M.C. Who? That's showbiz"
So, there you go. We're back on the boards. Polly will
feel a little different tonight. Teller won't put cloth
over his head and I'll talk a bit different. We'll adjust.
"Me, I'm still on the road, heading for another joint."