BassCliff w/True Willie, Jacksonville Florida, 9/26/17-10/2/17(Video added!)

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by BassCliff, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hello dear friends and neighbors,

    I thought I'd go ahead and get this gig report started tonight since I can't sleep after a long day of travel and excitement. Me and the True Willie Band have been looking forward to this engagement for a few months. We are playing at The Alhambra Dinner Theater in Jacksonville FL this week, Wed through Sunday, and flying back on Monday Oct 1st. In addition to the True Willie show we will be backing Corrie Sachs and her Reba McEntire tribute. Corrie and her husband Bob Sachs are great people. We are really enjoying our time with them and looking forward to some fabulous shows this week.

    We start this journey early on a Tuesday morning. I load up my suitcase and Carvin LB76 and drive over to pick up Johnny Fingers at 4am. Then we drive down to Art's house and pick him up. That way he can drop us at the airport and dive my trusty Astro Van back to his house for safe keeping while we're gone. We make it to the OC airport at 5am and run into a couple of guys that John knows. This is Jerry and Kenny from SKB cases. John and I both use SKB cases.


    They are on their way to Orlando through Houston. We are on our way to Jacksonville through Houston. Small world.

    John and I meet up with the rest of the True Willie band at gate 13 of the OC airport. Our flight departs at 6:45am.


    I took a picture of the plane after we landed in Houston. We had about 25 minutes to make it to our connecting flight. We hustled to the tram to get to a different terminal. Houston is a pretty big airport.


    We made it to the plane just as they were boarding our group. We cut it pretty close. With connections that tight sometimes you worry about your luggage and your gear. Oh well, we'll find out when we get to Jacksonville. Here we are flying along the Gulf coast between Houston and Jacksonville.


    Here are a couple of schmoes hanging out in coach.


    I had heard that there were a couple of celebrities on board so I asked if I could take a picture with them. We met up with Bob and Corrie at Houston and flew together to Jacksonville.


    I just want to take a moment to mention that the amazing bass player Bob Sachs and I both got our musical career started by playing accordion. Bob's had a great musical career. I'm not sure what happened to mine. Maybe he took more accordion lessons than I did.

    The venue sent a big, huge van to meet us at the airport. All of our luggage and gear made it with us. Yay!


    Our driver, John Garcia, was so gracious and helpful that I felt guilty of depriving him the pleasure of putting my bass into the back of his van. Even this stingy old bass player tipped him.


    Dave and his wife rented a separate car for the week so most of our merry band is here headed off to the venue.


    I took this picture just because I was trying to find a highway sign that said "Jacksonville" but most of them just said "Jax".


    There was surprisingly little evidence of damage from recent hurricane Irma but there sure was a lot of water around. We are going over the bridge that crosses the St. Johns River.


    This is close to the apex of the bridge. I'm pretty sure that's Orlando off in the distance there.


    Then we arrive at the venue just to case the joint and make sure everything will go smooth for our load-in and sound check/rehearsal tomorrow afternoon.


    I thought this was a funny situation just because of the sign over the entryway.


    The Alhambra Dinner Theater is an older theater house, it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and it is quite charming.


    The new owners, Gary and Craig, are all about renovation. They care a lot about his old establishment. You can tell by the stories they share. This is the view of the room as I enter. I really like this place.


    This is the view from the stage looking back to where I entered the room. It's going to be so charming once the tablecloths and place settings are put on the tables.


    I was pleasantly surprised to find an Eden World Tour 800 rig on stage as my backline.


    This is the FOH but I'm not sure if our sound engineer is going to use this board or bring in his own.


    And this is half of the PA that was set up on stage right. Again, I'm not sure if this is the final arrangement. There were also satellite speakers around the house.


    I'll be back in the next post to share a bit more from today, our travel and load-in day. Thanks for looking!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  2. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    After we left the venue we made our way close to the Atlantic side of Jacksonville. This is another bridge that we went over another section of the St Johns River.


    Then we found our hotel. It's a decent place on the main thoroughfare.


    Here you see Mike, John, and T-Willie hassling the very nice young lady behind the counter.


    This is the view of the pool and the parking lot next door from my room.


    This is my room. It's a nice room. It also has a separate bathtub and shower.


    While we waited for everyone to gather in the lobby before we left for supper, we enjoyed the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.


    Since three different people suggested this place for seafood we decide that it was the place to go. We were not disappointed.


    It was right on the water in a little marina on the river.


    I enjoyed the blackened red snapper with some fries, cole slaw, and hush puppies. I really enjoyed the local lager.


    Then T-Willie treated us all to some key lime pie. It was totally good.


    After supper we hung out by the pool for a bit and enjoyed a couple of adult beverages. Tomorrow is soundcheck in the afternoon, run through a few tunes, and at 7:50pm we debut backing Corrie as Reba. It'll be a total hoot! Thanks for looking.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  3. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    "On the road again. Don't have to wait to be on the road again." :cool:

    This is cool. Thanks for taking us along Cliff :)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
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  4. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Cliff -
    I've been looking forward to your series of reports for this stint for a long time. The giggage has not yet begun, and yet I'm riveted already.

    Looking forward to more!

    BTW, glad to see this area is in good shape, and that there is not a nasty storm breathing down your necks while you're in town.
  5. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    Ok! I'm liking this separate food and lodging report. I feel full after that meal and desert to boot. Can't wait for the other reports, namely the Chicks. and then the "Piece-de'-Resistance" .... the actual gig report. ;)
    BurnOut, BBQisgood, McG and 4 others like this.
  6. growlypants


    Nov 10, 2012
    Great to hear you made it to the EDT zone!!! (Eastern Daylight Time). Thanks for posting all those pics of your journey so far. Can't wait for some actual gig shots, though!! Tight connection in Houston - you didn't plan it that way, did you?? Pretty soon, you'll be a Million Miler, like me.
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  7. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Sunny California
    I'm pretty sure your accordian to bass player career is about to take off to world-wide stardom... because you're staying at a Holiday Inn. :thumbsup:

    To add on dbase requests, chicks in bikinis on the beach or the trip to FL did not happen! (Are chicks clothed in bathing attire allowed on TB?)
    BassCliff and McG like this.
  8. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Aha! A bit of insight about the mysterious GP!

    Million Miler? What do you do when you're not playing low notes or on TB?
    mwbonsall, dbase, McG and 1 other person like this.
  9. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    I just checked out the Alhambra Dinner Theater website. The room holds about 400 people. All six shows are virtual sell-outs. Only one or two tables and a few single seats are still available for each one. This will be an epic residency!
  10. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    This afternoon we soundchecked and rehearsed a few rough spots and transitions. Heading back to the venue in about an hour to sing for my supper. I'll have a few more pictures after the show. Thanks for stopping by! Talk to you soon.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BurnOut, OCDave, mwbonsall and 3 others like this.
  11. Very very cool, looking forward to the rest of the report!

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  12. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hey there good people!

    Just to let you know, it's the 50th anniversary of this establishment so they are really trying to play that up. The doors open at 5:50pm. The show starts at 7:50pm.

    We went to the venue about 1pm to setup, soundcheck, and rehearse a bit. It took a bit of time to get everything dialed in but Andrew (FOH) was very patient with us. He even knew the punchline to "What's the difference between a soundman and a toilet?" He's a great guy to work with.


    That's Andrew with the tablet getting things dialed in.


    When I plugged into my amp and turned it on all it could do was make fuzzy noises at a very low volume. I was a little worried until Andrew told me that the backline company provided a backup amp, another Eden WT800.


    I put it online and all was right with the world again. Whew! I was so happy both because of the amp and because Corrie joined me in an amp-selfie.


    Andrew puts the final touches on Dave's kit.


    Mike used his son's Strat. It's a pretty guitar. I think he's learned his lesson about traveling with his favorite ES335. (The headstock was broken on one of our fly dates earlier in the year.)


    Here's a shot from behind the kit. That's Gary, one of the owners, talking with Roger.


    Here's a picture of some of the infrastructure backstage.


    Here we are heading through backstage on the way to the green rooms.


    We ran through most of the Reba set and her duet with T-Willie, "God Bless The USA".


    A local singer, Debbie, joined us for the Reba set. She was terrific. She's got a music degree from one of the local universities, knows her stuff, and is just as nice as she can be.


    Afterwards we had time to get back to our hotel rooms to freshen up before we came back to the venue for supper. This time we entered through the stage door in the back of the theater.


    Corrie got her own dressing room. The rest of us shared this one. We had our own sink and there were restrooms backstage just down the hall. This venue may be fifty years old but it's a comfortable facility.


    The costumes from other productions are stored in all the dressing rooms backstage. There are four different rooms backstage for the "talent". Here's drummer Dave and his wife making out in the hallway which is decorated with signatures of all the performers who have appeared here.


    The band has a convenient table next to the quick exit door to backstage. Corrie and Roger dined backstage but the rest of us supped together with the rest of the clientele.


    The young lady is Cara. She was our server, a beautiful, articulate, cultured young lady who grew up shrimping in the local waters with her parents. She made our meal that much more enjoyable.


    I tell you what. The folks here really know how to market and promote. These are the drink and dinner menus.



    I really enjoyed the pulled pork. The BBQ sauce on the pork seemed to be mustard-based and I thought it was delicious. I'm usually not a sweet potato fan but this one was amazing. The pecan pie was just OK, not at all like my Grandma's.


    It was absolutely sold out tonight. Imagine that, on a Wednesday. I hope the band is good.


    I'll be back in the next post to finish the night. Thanks for looking!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
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  13. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Here's Reba and Deb with Mike, Dave, and the bass player just before we make our way to the stage.


    I stuck my camera out in front of the curtain to sneak this picture while our emcee was warming up the crowd. There were a lot of birthdays in the house tonight.


    I was able to sneak this picture from my mic's perspective just before we started. I really couldn't take any pictures during the show. It wasn't that kind of event.


    I gave my point-n-shoot to Mrs. Drummer and she took a few from the band table. Here's the True Willie Band with Corrie as Reba.


    I wish I would've done a better job with the Reba set. I guess there were just too many opening night jitters. None of us were really on our game. But tomorrow will be much better now that we've got the first night jitters out of the way. Our Willie show was pretty dang good tonight and it will get better tomorrow too.



    At the end of T-Willie's set we brought out Reba again for a duet. It got a standing ovation. The patrons were so nice, so complementary that I really wished I would've played better. They had such a good time. But I didn't because I know I could've done much better. OK, I'm done beating myself up. We'll blow the roof off the dump tomorrow.

    On the way out I found an empty star and signed my name. Who knows? Maybe it will still be there in 50 years.


    Here's another example of the thought this venue put into the engagement, the program.




    I'm hoping I can nab a copy sometime this week. It'll be nice to show the grandkids.

    We've got some touristy stuff planned for tomorrow. We're going to visit St. Augustine, the oldest city in America. It should be interesting. Then we'll probably play our gig after that. Do you want to see some touristy pictures? Just a thought. Thanks for looking!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

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  14. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    Very cool report. Thanks!

    If you get a chance at some more seafood, ask if they have grouper throats.
    nixdad and BassCliff like this.
  15. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Of course we do. Please don't leave us in the hotel while you're out seeing the sights ;)
  16. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I want a video if it's permitted (copyrights and such). Also, Cliff, does the real Willie Nelson get any royalties from each performance? Oh, in case I forgot, good food and gig report. keep up the good work. ;)
    McG, nixdad and BassCliff like this.
  17. As my GF says
    "Like a bunch of gypsies on the highway"!
    Great stuff Cliff
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  18. TedH


    Dec 6, 2014
    Westchester, NY
    Air Force Band? Word up! That's some serious shight! :thumbsup:
  19. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    This is all great, for a lot of reasons. The fact that Florida is up and running again is just one. Enjoy your residency, Cliff. We are all living vicariously. Thanks.
  20. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    A fly date, an Eden rig and a real music room.
    Nice gig.
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