One of my favorite gigs that Andy and I played with that group and other groups before and after was a summer concert at Mashpee Commons. It was always a crap shoot as far as the weather was concerned but it was decent money and after doing a lot of bars where the majority of the crowd didn't pay much attention it was great to have an attentive audience.
One of the funniest things to see were the elderly folks who would always arrive well in advance of the show, in order to get a "good seat" in the front. They would always look askance at our PA system as we set it up, sure that those big speakers (which were really not all that big at all!) would be just too loud. I would always make a point of reassuring them as we set up but they were having none of it. The concerts were a weekly event and they were FREE, darn it! So the oldsters weren't going to miss them, even if the type of music being played was not exactly their favorite.
Playing outside is always a challenge because sound disperses quickly and because of this at least a bit of volume is needed. One of the things I believe in from a performance perspective is always beginning a show with an up-tempo song. I will never forget the three old ladies who were always front and center, year after year, and would without fail place their hands over their ears ("Hear no Evil" I called them) when we hit our first chord, glaring at us in total disapproval. But there was NO WAY they were going to leave, because it was FREE, darn it, and they had made sure they had the BEST seats!
With them in mind, I made sure our concerts always included my finger-picked version of "Ain't Misbehavin' " and "Nodody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and for the ladies, those became the highlights of the show year after year. It even got to the point where one of them would ask (although her frown at the speakers as we set up never left her face): "Young man! I HOPE you are going to play Ain't Misbehavin'!" And I always did, which got them to smile once in a while.
One of the biggest highlights for me at those concerts was the year my son Matt sat in with us on drums. He had been playing since elementary school - and in fact, my dad the drummer had brought drum sticks to the hospital the day after Matt was born! I'm sorry to say that although we did play together on a casual basis, my dad an I never did play a gig together. This is a huge regret for me. And I was determined to not let this opportunity pass by.
Matt was (and is) a very good drummer and it was his senior year in high school. He was the drummer with the high school jazz band and he rehearsed with us before the concert. I didn't announce him until well into the show - and the crowd gave him a big round of applause. His friends were there too and I hoped they didn't think our music was totally lame but they were very supportive of Matt too. As well they should have been because Matt did a damn good job. I was very proud and loved every second of it.
Peace & good music,