Monday, May 24, 2004

You know that feeling when you are 12 years old and they are forcasting a winter snow storm? You go to bed at night and expect to wake up to a transformed, whitewashed world where school is cancelled and you can spend the day watching tv, drinking hot chocolate, and sledding in the storm?

You know that feeling when you wake up and you open your eyes and you look out and there isn't any snow anywhere?

That's the kind of feeling I had waking up on Saturday morning and seeing the cold, dark, dismal, wet, grey, day lurking outside.

I had high hopes set for this particular Saturday. Normally, I don't allow myself to have high hopes. Usually, I have a very "well, we'll see" kind of attitude when it comes to rock shows. That's because, so often, they don't turn out the way they are hyped. But, this time, I really had high hopes. Maybe it was because of my other great experiences at the Pines Theatre (every year at Transperformance, things always seem to magically work out perfectly.) Whatever the reason, when I woke up and felt the raw cold air, my heart sunk.

Lesa and I wanted to get to the Park early so we could help out if necessary and to see the Young At Heart Chorus. The weather forcast still said there would be a high of 70 that day, but it was so cold that we threw on sweaters. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for some toss-it-down-your-throat breakfast and drove through the puddles to Look Park.

We found a parking spot and headed in to the theatre to find Bill Dwight who was cheery and funny as always. He informed us that the Young At Heart Chorus had cancelled. I think that was a good choice. There were only about three people in the huge out door theatre at this point anyway.

I got a few phone calls from Brian, Max, and Tony..and Ken. I had trouble hearing Ken's message but left him one in return saying that if he wanted to play, to stop by my place and pick up all the keyboard stuff. I didn't know if he was going to until Brian showed up and told me. Wow, cool, we hadn't played with Ken in forever (since he's been touring with Pedro the Lion).

Guess what? When it's breezy and 50 degrees outside, a sweater doesn't do the trick. Lesa and I were freezing, shivering all day long. We watched some of the bands (Ware River Club was a stand out, and Josh Crane, as always, was excellent.) and took a light and tumbled journey through the zoo. The zoo at Look Park is really more like a bunch of cages in the woods. But, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The peacock was displaying his feathers and the turkey was making crazy noises. Also, a chipmunk ran right up to us and got swallowed up by the earth at out feet.

The Fawns played our set and had a great time. There were still only about 50 people in the audience (who would come out to the park on such a dismal day?) but as Bon Jovi would say, we rocked them all. Okay, maybe we didn't rock anyone, whatever that means, but we came across well and played a confident and powerful set. My guitar amp was louder than it's ever been before. It was good fun, the ladies were dancing to "Boy Crazy".

After our set, we took a ride on the Look Park train and screamed in the tunnel. Then we got some Look Park snacks, hotdogs, french fries, onion rings, popcorn, burgers - that kind of stuff. We ate while watching Summit House play and then we couldn't take the cold any more and sat in the cars for a while with the heat on full-blast.

I still only half expected that SFTD would be playing. The skies were getting darker, the wind was getting stronger.

We made a set list and just as the jazz band before us was leaving the stage and we were getting ready to set up, the first drops started to fall. We decided to go for it anyway but when I stepped out on the stage to help Brian assemble his drums and looked out over the grassy expanse, I saw smatterings of folks wrapped up in jackets with their arms around their bodies, shivering and being rained on. I looked around me and saw thousands of dollars of sound equipment surrounding the stage. I saw the tired and cold folks who were running the show. And I foresaw a horrible downpour in the middle of our first song.

I decided to call the show. It just didn't seem worth it. We need to let these poor people go home and dry off and warm up.

About five minutes later all signs of rain had stopped and the skies turned slightly less dark, but it was too late. I felt bad, because some poeple had withstood the discomfort and stuck it out in order to see us. Some folks had even driven up from Connecticut just for our set. Oh well, I still think it was the right choice.

The event organizers had expected about 5000 people at the park. My estimate was more like 400 with only about 50 or 60 in the theatre at any one time. If it had been a beautiful warm sunny day - it would have been awesome. Next year, I guess.

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