A few years ago we played the Chinook Tavern in Denver, Colorado. Out of nowhere, rain clouds gathered that even us Kansas boys were nervous about. Hoping the tents above us would hold, we pressed on, and without warning, a solid sheet of water fell upon us and started pummeling all of the gear we had set up.
We attempted to hold the tents together by hand, but the wind and rain flooded everything in sight. Everyone working at the club rushed to help us unplug and put the gear inside. They brought tons of towels and quickly started drying off the guitars, stands, mic, and our PA system.
We told the crowd to hold tight and that we would re-setup inside and give them everything we’ve got. After years on the road, we pride ourselves in being flexible, putting up the circus quickly and efficiently, and putting on a show in any environment thrown our way—from bowling alleys to bookstores. You use the old saw, “Every gig is Madison Square Garden.” Some days that’s easier than others. 🙂
The crowd gathered around the old wooden bar inside and waited patiently. Our fearless soundman and road manager, Nathan Devore, set up a bunch of black plastic fans to dry out the PA, but to no avail. A small popping sound of circuits blowing consistently made its way through the speakers, and the crowd sighed and began to dissipate.
We have always enjoyed playing some acoustics in a room with no PA, but this was a rowdy crowd that needed, wanted, and had paid for the full-meal deal. We were literally dripping with water when we sat down to play. Fingers crossed, we turned the PA on again and found that not only was it still broken but my classical guitar was also making a nasty popping sound. The crew and our friends all started calling up any music stores that were still open. We found one, but they refused to rent us a PA head, only sell it. As Nate and I were trying to talk sense into the owner, explaining we would rent for almost any price, Lisza Gulyas, who books many of the acts for the tavern (and who is now on the board of our charity, Funding the Future, came up and SAVED THE DAY. She whipped out her credit card and offered to BUY us the new PA head. Unbelievable. She and Nate went to grab it, and the manager of Chinook, Georg Clemons, who could double as a linebacker for the Broncos, asked me to make an announcement to the crowd. I jumped up on the bar and screamed at the top of my lungs for everyone to stick with us, that we were about to put on a show together! The show must go on!
The show was rough but an absolute blast, and we can’t thank our Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver friends enough for sticking with us through the storm. The club paid us the full amount, and we left with a brand-new piece of touring gear. This was one to remember, and Lisa and Greg, we are in your debt.
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