With a return to socially distanced outdoor performances now allowed, it has been such a pleasure to meet up with all our friends on the circuit. We’ve driven the family mad with endless twiddling to amuse ourselves, followed by the occasional Facebook Live to an undetermined audience. So it was great to be back at the Falcon performing with Steve Gibbs as The Boatmen to our first, well-distanced crowd. As a bonus, the sun shone and it didn’t rain. This was lucky as there is no cover and the location at the bottom of the steps wouldn’t have been sheltered. The Falcon (Colin Wilson) has started putting on Sunday sessions to run after the Carvery from 2.00pm. There’s a mix of solo performers and small groups, all at a sensible sound level so as not to upset the neighbours.
We had a substantial meal first – yes, I know it’s no longer mandatory, but it was tasty. Then we started setting up like excited school kids waiting for home time. As the numbers arriving were directed to their designated tables, we completed a sound check. Then there was time to reflect and play some background music till start time.
Experiencing that buzz again
It’s seemed such a long time since we’ve played in front of real people, other than the long-suffering wife. We checked our tuning and launched into the first song, a cover of Ace’s ‘How long has this been going on?’ A tribute to the audience’s and our patience during the pandemic!
It only seemed like minutes, and we had reached the end of our first set. No matter how much practicing had gone on during the last twelve months, the fingertips were already complaining. The old quote ‘I got blisters on my fingers!’ sprang to mind.
After a short break we got back up to do set two. The first song was a request outside of our normal genre/style, but it seemed to go down well. We were asked to do it again later but managed to sidestep with a rock track. Then, just like a magician’s disappearing act – flash! We had finished the second set.
Three encores later, after shouts for ‘Sweet Caroline’ and three repeats of the chorus, we powered down and started the fun part of the job. Packing the equipment away.
The buzz from playing in front of a receptive audience never goes away. I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did. Though not the full return to normality, it’s hopefully the first baby steps back to audience participation and a full dance floor.
Thanks to Colin and the ‘table service only’ team. And here’s to next week when it’s my turn to sit in the audience. Bring it on!
When it is safe to resume, local event listings can be found at www.outa-stock.co.uk/OM.htm
WORDS Dave Bailey