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Worst New Year's Eve Gig

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Bob Gollihur, Dec 26, 2000.

  1. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    New Year's Eve can takes you to a club or party that's out of your normal route -- and can be a wildly fun or horrible experience... here's my horror story from the past.

    It was 1975 - I was part of a three-man rock cover band, heavy three-part harmonies and very high energy stuff.

    This horror story starts with something even more horrible: about two months earlier we got a call from our agent to cover a Fri-Sat gig at a club we'd never played. We had planned to be off but took it as a favor. Played 10-3 Fri. nite -- came back Sat. nite at 9:30 and couldn't find the club on this dark road, finally did-- it had almost burned to the ground that morning.

    We lost almost everything, and were about 2 weeks away from finalizing gear insurance (damn guitarist, late with his receipts). So, in the interim time between that tragedy and the NYE gig we were in the drummer's basement scraping melted tolex off cabinets and rebuilding them with new speakers and coverings. Amazingly, our Yamaha PA, with its knobs melted to the front metal plate, still worked.

    Flash ahead six weeks. We find out the club where we regularly gigged went out of business. There goes two Dec. weekends and NYE.

    Our agent to the rescue, again, with another last minute special. Hoo boy.

    She sends us to this Philadelphia club for not-very-great bucks -- We arrive and this place looks like a set out of a movie -- apparently had been a very hot club at one time but fell out of favor. Dirty and tattered curtains frame the place and illuminated wall decorations barely sparkle, with half their bulbs burned out. It was almost like a scene from the Twilight Zone. We plug into the house EVs and begin to play... to the bartenders and fatass owner on a stool at the end of the bar. Our PA, still stinking of smoke, starts to cut in and out. Hoo boy.

    Meanwhile, NOBODY comes in -- people occasionally walk in and turn around and walk out. The owner bitches that we came off early (2 minutes). And then yells at us for taking too much time between songs as we try to fix the PA (which turned out to be his damn speakers, BTW). It was the LONGEST five sets I've ever played -- talk about having a night drag on...

    At Midnight there were three customers in the place. Happy New Year! We ask the owner once if he wants us to keep playing -- you can guess the response.

    We force out this high energy rock for two more sets and get the f out of the place, but not before the owner gives us a hassle about paying the full contract price. Give him a break, he says. Yeah, right.

    Whenever I play an even slightly screwed up gig I think of that night -- and it doesn't seem so bad anymore.
  2. I played a big band gig that was for a dinner dance that was supposed to run from 8:00pm to 1:00am. The hall was at the bottom of a steep hill and the only road in/out came down that hill. Unknown to all inside we had one of those surprise ice storms that started about 10:30 so by 12:15 or so when the first people started to leave the road was a solid sheet of ice and not passable. So about a thousand people in formal wear are stranded and no one knows for how long. Fortunately the hall never lost power and there was plenty of food but no phone. We were finally able to leave on the second about noon. My boss at the day job was cool about it but not my girlfriend at the time, she never believed that we were really trapped with out telephones so...
  3. My worst NYE gig was about 10 years ago. We played at a fairly large club in Chicago, and the house was about half capacity. It was snowing real hard and the band we were opening for had once acheived some regional success, but were at the time - has beens.

    I was sick as a dog with the flu, and about halfway through our set, I was horking behind one of the PA Main stacks. I remember the sound guy telling me that he had to clean it off of his cables.
    From what the drummer told me I didn't miss a beat, but I seriously couldn't think of how. I don't even remember playing those notes.
  4. VictorLeMonteWooten


    Dec 6, 2000
    You can get great money if you gig on New Years. You can get $500+ easily.

  5. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    My worst/only NYE gig...'82

    This little rock band I was in was opening for another, bigger name band during a one week 'engagement' at Edwards Air Force Base out by Lancaster, Calif...For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the other band, but they had a contract with Polydor and we thought they were gods...

    Anyhow...this is in the high desert over New Year's...very cold, and very dry. For a kid from Redondo Beach who had never seen 35 degrees, it was a rude awakening. Immediately when we pulled onto the base, all of the moisture began to leave my body. By NYE, (day 6) I was nothing but split lips and torn fingertips. Very upsetting. The other band's drummer and I were the only ones to suffer very badly. Everyone else got chapped lips and all, but ours were deeply split...Together we vowed never to play another NYE gig. So far, I've been true...

  6. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Hey Ed, gimmie a break, I live in East Georgia. About 10 miles outside Bumble****.
  7. Man, this thread brings back memories. Not quite as bad as yours, Bob :)
    We were a three piece band, barely together a year, barely had four hours of material if the guitarist did a ten minute solo during each song, we took a 15-minute break every hour and did our entire set twice.
    Had to drive miles in a snowstorm with our gear stuffed into a Pinto, a Datsun and a Gremlin to our NYE 1978 gig at a bar in the wilds of Northern Wis.
    We had worked up a killer version of "Auld Lang Syne" to play at midnight. We thought it was great. Right after we performed it, someone came up and requested "Auld Lang Syne."

    [Edited by double dad on 01-10-2001 at 07:42 PM]
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I only played one New Year's gig in my life. it was the 1999-2000 and I was in a band playing in an old folk's home. We were bringing in the new year at 6 p.m.! I had two of everything, or so I thought. I had forgotten to bring a strap, and my bass that day (a Peavey B-Quad 4 fretless) had this horrible angled lower horn that would dig into my leg if I played it sitting down. There was no other choice. I took one of my bass cords, tied it around the strap buttons and prayed they wouldn't come off. They didn't, but the trade off was I had to play the bass in a bad position, with the bass cord slowly sawing me in half. Two hours later, we had another gig, fortunately, I managed to borrow a strap for that. Haven't forgotten a strap since.

    Will C.:cool:

  9. 1978. We show up at first ever NYE gig- we were pumped!
    Then we find out the club has had their liquor liscense suspended. Guess what? We played to the bartender, the waitress, and the owner. For $100 each. At the end of the night, the owner comes up and gives this sob story that he (obviously) hadn't made any money, so we let him talk us down to $50 each. Didn't do a New Year's again for a while.

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