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Progressive Travels

The haphazard chronicles of a professional musician and his relentless pursuit of an otherwise boring life.

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Location: St. Jacob, Illinois, United States

If it ain't Baroque, fix it!

20 April 2006

Baltimore Revisited

Saturday, 15 April 2006
Tax Day. Enough said about that.

BenWahBob had another one of our seemingly increasing number of gigs at Rusty’s in Edwardsville IL. When we first started playing there, it was dead. We couldn’t buy a crowd. We had pretty much given up on the place and decided not to book any more gigs there…at least, not on purpose. Then, all of a sudden, we had a night with a tremendous crowd. Ever since then, we have had pretty decent attendance every time. It went from “paid practice” to a real gig. No complaints from me, as it’s one of the closest gigs to home for me.

Unfortunately, though, this has turned into a PA gig as well…which means it’s actually work now. Since my system is small and the load-in is easy, though, it’s not too bad. It’s also not too good coming off a week with the last two days spent in Baltimore MD…again. The church seemed to find a way to run 220VAC into their organ relay where it was looking for 14VDC. Not good. They fried just about every electronic board in the thing. Mark Wick called me Thursday morning and told me to run home and grab a change of clothes and whatever tools I would need…we were flying to Baltimore to rebuild their organ on-site. Great. I knew my boss Eric was going, but found out this week that he was the one who recommended that I go, too. Thanks, Eric. I owe you one, buddy.

It wasn’t really a bad trip, all in all. Wick’s owns a small Beechcraft Bonanza airplane, which seats four with a small luggage compartment. Mark flies quite a bit for business, so this was really just another trip for him. I, however, had never been in anything smaller than a Boeing 737. This was quite a pleasant experience for me. I have long harbored the thought of getting a pilot’s license, specifically to fly small planes like this. Of course, that whole musicians-don’t-belong-in-planes thing always stayed any action in that direction (see Randy Rhoads, Stevie Ray Vaughn, etc.). The flight out got a little bumpy when we were going over the mountains, but other than that it was pretty uneventful. Mark laughed and joked with us the whole way, until we got close to Washington DC airspace. Then, all kidding around came to a complete halt. As Mark put it, “You don’t screw around here, and you keep talking to them.” Sounded like good advice to me. I had no desire to see an F-15 from my window. Air traffic control chatter is nonstop there. Eric and I just shut up and listened.

We arrived at the church late in the afternoon on Thursday and worked until almost 23:00, when we gave up for the night and retired to the hotel. We started early the next morning and finished around 15:00. We got a huge amount of work done in the relatively short time that we were there. We drove back to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and climbed back into the plane to head home. The weather was against us, though. A giant, vicious storm was moving toward us through Indiana and Ohio. Mark plotted a course that would take us around it, but we would have to go south through Virginia, across Kentucky and up through southern Indiana into Illinois.

Great.

While I had no desire to fly anywhere near this storm, which apparently contained a few tornados, I also had a great desire to get home as soon as possible. Dawna and I were supposed to have one of our unfortunately few dates Friday night. When I called her from the church to tell her that I would probably not be home before 20:00, she said she would just go to my house and wait for me there. What a sport. She did her best to hide her disappointment, but it was obvious to me. We stopped in Roanoke VA to refuel and I called her again to inform her of what we were doing and where we were, and told her that I would probably not be home until after 22:00. She was driving past St. Jacob as we were speaking…on her way home.

Swell.

We landed at Greenville Airport around 23:00, and I drove home to an empty house.

Solo.

The only real bright spot in all of this, besides the quickness with which we rebuilt an organ, was that I learned how to navigate a flight. I sat up front there and back again. Because Eric was the smallest, he had to sit in the back for proper weight distribution. This put me in the co-pilot seat, giving Mark the opportunity to teach me in-flight. So, that was pretty cool.

Uhhh…what does all of this have to do with BWB playing at Rusty’s Saturday night? Nothing, really…other than that whole thing about setting up and running a PA from the stage after a hard week. (I know…Waaaa!) Most of the rest of the night at Rusty’s was pretty uneventful, though, compared to the two days previous. The crowd filtered out early, leaving us with about five people for the last half of the last set. We jumped over a couple of benign tunes in the middle of the set and opted for Sabbath’s Faeries Wear Boots and Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song to close out the night. We didn’t even bother with War Pigs. We just shut down a few minutes early and went home. I listened to a new CD I had just gotten from LaserCD.com from a Norwegian progmetal band called Circus Maximus. It is their first album titled The 1st Chapter, and is very Dream Theater-ish. It’s definitely worth a listen, if you like that sort if thing.

BTW…inside joke…for those of you who don’t know – and why would you – Great, Swell, and Solo are the names given to some of the manual divisions of an organ (that’s the keyboards, for those of you in Rio Linda). Probably not funny to you, but I had fun writing it…especially the double entendre of the last one. My sick humor. Don’t mind me.

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