Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rain, Russians and Belly Dancers

Saturday night I was booked for a private party. I played for this particular client before, and I was happy to find out that they hunted me down for another gig. It shouldn't have been that hard to find me--Google will take you to the website, and on the website is a contact link. And I really should've made it easy for them by sending them a letter with some biz cards after the first time I played for them. That was my aim anyway, but I didn't know how to spell the wife's first name (Terry? Teri? Terri?) and I wound up not sending anything at all.

Luckily they hunted me down through a mutual contact. The client, a well-to-do chiropractor, seemed pretty loose about the start time so I got there around 8 PM and began setting my gear up on the patio. Of course, as soon as I got set up it began to sprinkle, then a downpour, and with the help of a few party attendees I managed to move my PA to a dry overhang under the house. 12 or 15 miles away at TCF Bank Stadium U2 was being rained on as well, but they played in the rain. I could not afford for my gear to get ruined, plus nobody was going to stand out in the rain with me anyway.

So I waited. I joined the party in the house, having a beer or two and marveling at the decor. A driveway full of vintage cars, motorcycles for knickknacks in the basement. So, this is what studying hard and doing well in school can get you, I thought. Maybe I should've tried harder, stopped writing songs durning class, not gotten kicked out of engineering school. Yeah, right!

Besides me, they had hired a psychic (who I never saw) and a couple of belly dancers (who I did see). I downed two or three Stellas and waited for the rain to stop. The belly dancers would do their thing, then take a break. I decided I might as well play acoustically between their sets, so I went outside under the house and got my guitar and did just that. So I would play a set, then the belly dancers would come out and do theirs. I had never worked with belly dancers before, and I have to say I liked it.

While the dancers danced, I had an interesting conversation with a Russian fellow named Raulf (spelling?, again). Raulf was at the party the last time I had played there, about two years ago, and then, like now, I was not quite sure what his role in everything was. He seemed to be in charge of the caterers, in charge of the household in fact. He is probably mid 50's to early 60s, with a thick Russian accent, and had lived in the US for 16 years. We spoke about our favorite musical artists, and found we both loved the Beatles. It was interesting to hear how risky it was to even own a Beatles album in the Soviet Union when he was young, how his father took great risks in getting it for Raulf, and how he couldn't even take a chance of sharing it with his friends.

The dancers took a break, and I played another set, playing as many Beatles tunes as I could remember. You just can't go wrong with the Beatles.