My worst gig ever.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by CalEliteCoach, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. I play in a progressive rock tribute band. We are a pretty young band as we have only been together for about 9 months. All of us are pretty seasoned musicians. But tonight for some reason our gig went pretty crappy. It was difficult to hear our monitors on stage. Ques and parts were missed. It's was very unnerving. We had to stop a song and that has never happened. I feel I know my bass parts well enough to play through even if I can't hear, but tonight it didn't matter. It was a disaster. Luckily we have a gig the very next night, so maybe we can put this one derailment behind us. It sucks to screw up a live performance.
    pcake, juggahnaught, petch and 25 others like this.
  2. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Ouch. Been there a couple times. Bad sounds is bad. Confidence goes out the window the moment you can’t hear what you’re playing. Onward and upward.
  3. Gabbs


    May 15, 2010
    Boulder Creek, CA
    Everyone gets a bad gig now and again. Spinal Tap is too real
  4. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    You missed a few beats and had to stop one song?
    Don't fret. That has not been the worst gig ever.
    Only the worst gig so far.
  5. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Once I started a song that starts with a bass riff and everyone just stood and stared at me.
    Apparently I skipped a song on the set list. So I stopped among comments of “what are you doing?” and we kicked off on the correct song.
    During the break I asked why everyone didn’t just jump in, do the song and then do the other song. “Didn’t occur to us” was the response, we got a good laugh out of that.
  6. slapshot


    Dec 22, 2018
    SE Michigan
    Crap happens. It sucks, but it happens to everyone eventually. Just make the next one better.
  7. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Never had to stop in the middle of a song because things were going so bad. If things are going that bad someone needs to step up and lead the way.

    I did have a drummer stop in the middle of a lead break when the guitarist jumped off a speaker cabinet. He said he thought we were ending the song. :rollno:
    the harp unstrung likes this.
  8. BLDavis

    BLDavis May the Tort be with you. Gold Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    After giging for over forty years, I can 100% guarantee you that will not be your worst gig ever.
    Forget it. Rock on.
  9. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    All kinds of stuff can happen at gigs, I wouldn't worry about it too much unless you're playing bit ticket shows. I played last night too; we had our share of flubs. At one point the guitarist called a song and I couldn't remember what key it was in. I asked him and he said C#. So I positioned at C# and he counted off, then played C over my C#. I just looked at him and said, "that's not C#." We'd only played one chord but we had to start over. It happens.
    George Dennis and Joe Nerve like this.
  10. Verb the Noun

    Verb the Noun

    Aug 1, 2018
    San Diego
    It's pretty instinctive for bands to adjust on the fly when a singer comes in early/late or introduces a song out of order, but god forbid a bass player throws a curve ball. That would have been super easy (You didn't intro in the wrong key or something), but your boys didn't even swing at it... just stood there staring at you! On stage!!! Damnnnnnn.......
  11. Hi,

    Rub some dirt on it and walk it off. We've all had to muscle through some bad performances. It's especially tough when you can't hear everything.

    Semi-pro tip: I have found that when I can't hear something, instead of turning it up (in my monitor mix, say) I will turn everything else down. I know it's counter-intuitive but it's best to avoid volume wars. If I am so loud that I can't hear the vocals or other instruments, I turn myself down on stage and leave it to the FOH guy to handle the mix out front. I need to hear everything on stage. ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  12. Rob1957


    Dec 3, 2020
    Bad gifs happen! Fact of life
    I saw a group of seasoned pros start their very first song of the set, stop, and had to start over again.
    You may have heard of them….they were called ASIA
    Rich67, Garret Graves and Joe Nerve like this.
  13. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    This is really common in bands where the players aren't that experienced. I'm working with a group like this now; trying to sort of help them out but it's challenging for me to be patient sometimes. All these things hvae happened - starting the wrong song, playing the wrong rhythm, starting in the wrong key - and instead of picking up on it people get confused.

    This is why I always tell people that stage time and experience is so important. You don't learn how to recover well unless you've had every conceivable thing go wrong many more times than once. People don't know how to hiccup and get back in time when the drummer is hitting ones and threes where it should be twos and fours. People don't know how to shift gears on the fly. Can't know unless you experience it.
  14. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    You should poll your audience. I'd bet most of them thought you did fine and some probably felt stopping a song in the middle was part of the plan. As long as you play with confidence, most in the audience won't have a clue.

    I saw Todd Rundgren a few years ago. Four measures into I Saw the Light, his entire sound system cut out and it took them 20 minutes to get it working again. He came back on stage and said something like: "I'd like to see AC/DC do that!" The audience roared and the rest of the show was great.

    Bad gigs happen to everyone. You should read Pete Townshend's autobiography. Many references to terrible gigs they played, even at the height of The Who. Of course, their drummer was a complete lunatic who passed out in the middle of shows.
    petch and Joe Nerve like this.
  15. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile, ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I've had my share of bad nights/flubs on stage. Regrets don't help, but fear of repeating awkward situations is good motivation to practice and be better going forward. If you don't have your own pa and mons (or even if you do) you have to learn to adapt to all kinds of bad stage sound.
    Joe Nerve and JRA like this.
  16. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    I am sorry to hear that but Yes it happens to all of us. Find a lesson and some humor and move on.
    I messed up on one song (Basket Case) last week and was on tilt for a few songs. But remembered we have a new drummer and we (the rest of us) haven't played it in a month and let it go. Shame on our BL for calling it out. Yeah that's it!
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  17. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    The trick for me is to practice in similarly crappy sounding rental studios and learn to deal with only going by the snare lol.
    PennyroyalWe and Joe Nerve like this.
  18. SemiDriven

    SemiDriven Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    On our last gig, our lead singer totally forgot lines mid-song to a tune she totally knew and loved.

    The obligatory train wreck happened as one-by-one everyone dropped out and we screeched to a halt.

    We looked at each other, started laughing, started the song from the beginning, and away we went.

    Embarrassing? Yep. It happens.

    The important thing is to shake if off and keep moving.
  19. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    This is truth. Two immediately come to mind, one of which involved an angry audience member with a gun - and the other gig was worse.
  20. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    A very common pro tip is NEVER STOP THE TUNE.

    No matter what, do not stop. Play the thing through. I’ve played many train wrecks, we survived.
    But stopping? Nope, just don’t.
    leonard, AlexanderB, timmo97 and 8 others like this.