The Concert Tour: First Gig
Oct. 4th, 1991
In the hours before the first gig I am uncommonly nervious. I've done my due diligence; listened to the tapes a lot, and have absorbed most of the new stuff. But for the first time, I'll be more than a casual substitute whose only responsibility is to prepare and do my best. And tonight, I'll also be making a new first impression. They're accustomed to Shannon's considerable power (much of which was sacrificed in seven sedate years with the Gatlin's, but which is now back with a vengeance). I envision the comments: "Well, it was OK, but he's no Shannon." "Of course not!" the internal demons shriek. "We're different! You've been playing with him for MONTHS! HOW COULD IT BE THE SAME?!"
Forcing myself to calm down, I sit behind the unfamiliar drums, and play the show. It goes well, great. The band is pleasantly surprised that I've absorbed so much and the music feels fine. Paranoia gagged and stuffed in the trunk, I have a great time capped off by Danny's end-of-the-night comment "You did fantastic, Brian. Nobody would have done no better."
Oct. 5th, 1991
The second night, same place. The first set is even better than the previous night, but I make an offstage mistake that will bother me for days. On Danny's advice, I spent the day focusing on one of the new showcase tunes, so we could play it that night. On the break, Danny asks if we could play a different showcase number. Nervously, I say "Sure, but I ought to listen to it during the break." Fine. But on the break, I spend too much time with my wife Beth, and by the time I head out to listen time is getting short. I choose to listen anyway. When I return, there is tension in the air, everyone hops up and heads for the stage. I'm late; I've made the band and capacity crowd wait. The irony is, now the set is cut short: we no longer have time to play the song! I play well enough, but with tension. Paranoia again looking over my shoulder, I know I'm overreacting; the error will be forgiven.
Sharing a beer with Billy at the end of the night, he reveals one of the tour dates has fallen through. There is a three-day gap between the first and second dates. An economic disaster for any group having to pay for hotels and a bus. He says ominously "They're trying to fill that gap with some last minute stuff. If they can't, we might as well not go."
Next: Gap or no gap, making tour plans
Day One || Day Two || Day Three, pt. 1 || Day Three, pt. 2
Day Four || Day Five || Day Six || Day Seven
Day Eight || Day Nine || Days 10-11
Epilogue || Feedback