As a piano music maker in the piano bars around Chicago
I get the opportunity to meet and greet some of the finest of citizens.
It is my pleasure to introduce to one such group of fine patrons from the late night gig last week. Just a warning Poison Squirrels, I mean, Boys and Girls, alcohol was involved in this particular encounter.
This is just one cute little tale I’d love to pull on your coat tails about, Gather ’round kids . . .
I took a break and walked around the room to talk with people at the club and see what they wanted to hear for the next set.
One highly energetic and slightly giddy trio of young women had a request of sorts.
The first one said, “Let’s find you some good songs to play. Do you play any Shania Twain?”
“No. I haven’t played any of her songs in years.”
The next wanted to know, “Do you do any Taylor Swift?”
“Do I look like I know any Taylor Swift?”
So the next one says, “How about some N’Sync?”
I said, “I thought you wanted to hear something good.”
They finally laughed. In fact, it was as if someone flipped a switch because then the first one said, “Well I just thought you could spice things up. What Lionel Richie do you know that will really rock the house?”
I smiled and told them, “Ummmmm … how ’bout none?” They got the joke.
I quickly changed the subject by getting someone to take our picture. I love my job!
The best part is I get to play to all kinds of people. When folks have an idea about what they think is going to be a good song, I can usually play it. But as a professional, I know which songs are going to work. Stress the word ‘KNOW’. I’ve been doing this awhile now. I’ve got a repertoire that expands decades. Anything you want to hear will fit. However, as a profession piano music maker, I can tell you, without a doubt, that Lionel Richie will never get the room rocking. Sorry my dear. Thanks for playing along though. We sure appricate the thoughts and condolences.
The kids on the cruise ship are hilarious. They are very antsy and energetic. Like, constantly. But mostly right after a meal. They can’t understand how grown ups just want sit back and talk and relax after a good bite. Kids got to get up and run around. They got to do things.
This is especially so when the child has been fed a very steady diet of soft serve ice cream. It can’t be beat. They don’t want anything but french fries and ice cream. Who can blame them? If I didn’t have repercussions from eating like that I would do it all the time. It’s hypnotizing to think about. Donuts and ice cream. No veggies. No rice cakes. Just ice cream. Mmmmmmmm … mesmerizing.
I saw one little tyke this AM who didn’t look any older than 2 years old. I don’t even think he had been walking for more than a month or two. He was holding his Mom’s hand as they were walking along the pool deck to go to the buffet.
It was as if he could smell the ice cream 50 meters away because once he realized where they were going, he just looked up at his Mom as if to say, “Can’t you move any faster Lady?” I mean he was pulling on her limb as if he wasn’t going to stand for the delay in the proceedings and if she didn’t get with the program, he was going to have to release of her of her duties so he could get on over to the ice cream! “Let’s get on with it!” 2 years old.
His poor mother knew exactly what was going on and was not going to release him until he got something nutritious in him first. But she looked utterly defeated. She knew she should not have brought this kid with them on this trip. She thought she was going to catch up on her sleep. She thought she was going to relax. But Nooooo. This 2 year old needed ice cream and immediately after he was going to run around. Probably where danger existed in the form of swimming pools and slippery floors.
I can’t say I miss those days. I’m only working on this cruise ship as an entertainer because our kids are grown up and out of high school now. This is my time to sit back and watch all those parents deal with saying no to ice cream.
Holiday Party Ideas? Think about this …
This year’s holiday party season has come to a close. It was a very interesting and varied schedule of private parties and company events.
I didn’t have many offers for NYE gigs this year. I had some bar gigs offered. I had a couple of restaurant gigs. But since Amber’s birthday is on New Year’s Day, I like to take something new and memorable. Not that I have anything against restaurant gigs. I’ve just played my share of them so much over the years, that I know they are kind of quiet and low key. Most people who go out to a restaurant on New Year’s Eve are there to celebrate early and be home by 1030.
Those that do go out to a bar are looking for a raucous time. It’s a rare night out for those folks who don’t usually go out all that often. Those of us in the business call New Year’s Eve ‘Amateur Night’ for all the reasons you can guess.
But this year I was rewarded for holding out for an interesting gig. I got a call for a private house party through an agent friend of mine. It was going to require a bit of travel. But the weather has been so mild this year that I thought it would be fun to take a road trip to the eastern part of the USA.
Our hostess had bought her childhood home in Malone, NY – a small town in upstate New York – about 30 miles from the Canadian border. The shortest distance to her home town was through the lovely country of Canada. We left in enough time to avoid a storm which smacked everyone pretty good with some sleet. But we were counting on the Canadians’ extensive experience in snow removal techniques to remain safe and unscathed. We were correct.
Not only were the roads clear and dry, there were fewer pot holes in the entire province of Ontario than there were down my entire Chicago street where I live.
We were able to stop in Toronto for the night and heard some stellar jazz cats ringing it at an open session. Even tho I am an alum of The Second City, I have never been up to our sister city of Toronto. Very international feel to it all. And people seemed very chill, relaxed and easy going.
I wondered why that is …
Do you suppose it’s because there is less of a chance of getting shot or mugged? Or do you suppose it’s because Canadians don’t fear losing their homes and their life savings if they get sick or injured?
On the return trip we made it a point to visit Old Montreal. Well worth the effort if you’ve never been. It was an easy trip from Malone, NY. Kind of like a trip to Milwaukee for most Chicagoans. Except there was less cheese and more class.
There’s way more to this story of this year’s new Year’s Eve party celebration. So tune in again later to hear more.
Thank you for playing along ladies and gentlemen.
I am going to take a short 5 minute break and I’ll be back in about 7 days.
I gotta admit. It was not my best night of live music. I was feeling a little off. I felt like I was a beat behind. Even tho I was playing solo piano, I didn’t think I was keeping the groove too honestly. It felt like I was dragging the tempo in places. But I was the one who started it off. I set the tempo. There was no drummer on the gig. So what gives? party ideas for adults
I had worked all day in the studio. I wasn’t really tired. But this was the late set at The Redhead piano bar in Chicago. I started just before midnight and I was going until 3 in the morning. So maybe I could have slept longer last night.
The place was packed. People were having a really good time by the time I got there. I settled in behind the piano and got people rocking and singing along. There were lots of dancers on the floor. Always cool to see that. But I was still trippin’ on my tempos. And then I started forgetting whole verses. Like entire chunks of lyrics. I could nail the choruses. But the verses were elusive. For example, I couldn’t remember the first verse of ‘Folsom Prison’ by Johnny Cash. “I hear the train a-comin’ ….”
Then came Justin. I nicknamed him ‘Captain Energy’. He was gonna be the guy tonight. The Alpha Male. Numero Uno. He had the impetus to get things goin’. He was my savior. My go to guy. He knew every lyric to every song I sang, or started to sing.
He brought the house down. It was amazing! Every lyric. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant? Nailed it. Africa by Toto? No sweat. He never came close to singing on key. But that silly little technicality did not stop Captain Energy. No siree-bob.
Plus he was willing to jump up and dance. What he lacked in melodic capability he did not make up in rhythm on the dance floor. Let’s just say he was an original.
He got people dancing by pulling them into his vortex on the floor. He pulled off Elvis impersonations with no shame.
Then he imitated Neil Diamond during our rendition of “Forever In Blue Jeans” by adapting the Will Ferrell line, “I wrote this song on the back of a dixie cup …” and added the line himself “after I stabbed a homeless guy to get an erection.” Captain Energy was on fire!
I was rescued. I fed off of his energy. I got my groove back. 3 ½ hours went by in no time. I didn’t want to leave when I was done. No one did. Except Captain Energy. He gave his all and he had to go. When he left we all felt like it was time to turn in.
Every room needs a Captain. Justin was ours tonight. Every party needs a ring leader to get things going. Who is going to be your ringleader? Call me to find out how to get your party going. If Captain Energy doesn’t show up, I’ll be sure to do my part before he does. Even if my rhythm is a little off, we’ll still have a great time. 773-527-7417 party ideas for adults