My live band “In Stereo” played two nights at the Canyon Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah this past weekend. It was a very mixed bag as the two nights went down in very different ways. On Friday we had some definite problems but we recouped and Saturday we were back on top of our game.
Our drummer, Ted Townsend is still recovering from a severe ankle infection that has left him unable to play drums. He is getting better but the date of his return to the drumset with In Stereo is still unknown. Luckily, the very talented Frank Lee was able to fill in for Ted this weekend. Frank also plays drum in my original band, Shufflin’ Noah and Frank was a founding member of In Stereo before he went back to school to get his Masters degree.
Friday night was tough for several different reasons. Any of you that play in a live band know how hard it is to play with a new member of the band. With In Stereo the drummer plays a very pivotal role simply because we use a computer sequencer live and it’s up to the drummer to keep us together with the computer. It’s tough to just step in and do that but Frank took the challenge and did an admirable job. We had some misfires but I think it was due as much to the fact that we hadn’t played a gig for a while as any other reason. When you don’t play out regularly it’s tough to keep your fine-tuned edge and we definitely showed some rust on Friday night.
We took way too long between songs and started a few songs wrong which made us appear pretty unprofessional. My favorite heckle of the night was after we played the Def Leppard song “Rock Of Ages” and had gotten completely off track with the sequenced bass part. You know you blew it when the hecklers shout “That sucked!!” but I had to agree! Honestly, we’ve been doing this for so long that we had a good hard laugh at that one. I love that kind of brutal honesty from the crowd and I really mean that. So even though Rock Of Ages did indeed suck, we soldiered on.
The crowd was pretty thin on Friday which was actually a good thing because we definitely weren’t in our finest form. We did have some high points though and we played out best set when the club was at it’s most full. Frank can really sing the AC/DC songs and his drum solo was a huge hit as well. Kyle had a new Fender Cyber-Twin SE amplifier and our guitars sounded sweet together! We also rolled out 6, yes that’s right, 6 new songs! Even though that was extremely challenging as well, we mostly pulled it off. The funniest thing that happened was when some drunk girl stumbled up onstage and sang “You Shook Me All Night Long” with Frank. It was totally hilarious because it was so awful.
Saturday night was much, much better. It’s like we were a completely different band and we were back in our best form. We played a few of our new songs in the first set and really nailed them. The crowd started dancing early and they were very vocal in their appreciation of our playing. It really helps when the crowd is digging what you’re doing and they let you know they’re loving it. Of course, it helps when you have a lot of friends in the audience too and we had a good showing from our fans on Saturday night.
The whole night went well from start to finish on Saturday. My good friend Rob Adamson from the local band Nitefall came to see us and we got him up there to sing Journey – “Separate Ways” and The Doors – “Roadhouse”. He sang them great and they were crowd favorites. He got a lot of love from the audience and it was a real treat for me to play with him onstage again. I played in my first bar band with Rob clear back in the late 80’s in a band called Blitz.
Other high points on Saturday were Franks drum solo in “Wipeout”. It always impresses the crowd when he does the Wipeout beat on the double bass pedal. We even got a “damn, that was cool!” from the stageside critics. My guitar solo in “Comfortably Numb” got me a lot of praise and people were really digging Tom’s rendition of the Tom Petty song “Breakdown”. Kyle totally made up for the “that sucked” rendition of Rock Of Ages on Friday and he nailed it perfectly on Saturday. We were definitely feeling it!
As usual, it was a learning experience and a whole lot of fun. We’re hoping Ted gets better soon and can rejoin the band. In the meantime, Frank is doing a seriously good job and we thank him. Thanks also to all the fans that came out to support us. You guys are the reason we keep on playing!!