Gig nightmare!!! Submit yours here...

Grooovepig

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Played a gig this weekend at the Jersey shore. 3 songs into the last set the kevlar strap on my trusty Yamaha FP-9500C broke. The dance floor was packed (a much welcomed site to see in this post-Covid world) and we weren't stopping between songs, so I just decided to side-saddle it, and play the last approx. 12 songs on the slave pedal! Needless to say my back was sore and I was whooped when we finished.

Anyone else encounter any gig nightmares?

...and yes I've put on a bunch of weight (mostly alcohol) since the pandemic!

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853guy

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When Living Colour released "Cult of Personality", I thought playing in a wetsuit was the coolest possible thing anyone had ever done. I was sixteen.

My band at the time landed a gig 989km away in front of two hundred people, requiring us to drive through the night to get there in a borrowed van. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to play my trusty Swingstar and steal the show by wearing my friend's wetsuit. We were going to be remembered forever.

As I counted in and we played the first note, only myself and our bass player could be heard. Our guitarist had a problem. Unsure what to do, the bassist and I continued to play the intro for three minutes while our guitarist furiously tried everything he could to fix the problem with help from stageside.

During those three minutes, I discovered that wetsuits may look cool, but they are 1) incredibly stiff to play in when filled with dried-up salt water, and 2) on land, under stage lights, incredibly hot.

Eventually, the only solution for our guitarist was to swap guitars with the opening act. We readied ourselves, and...

The replacement guitar was tuned a step higher. Try as he might - and he tried real hard - he only managed to transpose every second or third chord correctly, meaning the entire song was a wildly dissonant mess of clashing chords, and as a bonus, I very nearly passed out from the heat.

It probably was memorable. But not quite for the reasons I was hoping. Looking back, I should have worn a short, sleeveless wetsuit like Corey did in the video, rather than the full-length one my friend had.

Best,

853guy
 
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Grooovepig

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When Living Colour released "Cult of Personality", I thought playing in a wetsuit was the coolest possible thing anyone had ever done. I was sixteen.

My band at the time landed a gig 989km away in front of two hundred people, requiring us to drive through the night to get there in a borrowed van. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to play my trusty Swingstar and steal the show by wearing my friend's wetsuit. We were going to be remembered forever.

As I counted in and we played the first note, only myself and our bass player could be heard. Our guitarist had a problem. Unsure what to do, the bassist and I continued to play the intro for three minutes while our guitarist furiously tried everything he could to fix the problem with help from stageside.

During those three minutes, I discovered that wetsuits may look cool, but they are 1) incredibly stiff to play in when filled with dried-up salt water, and 2) on land, under stage lights, incredibly hot.

Eventually, the only solution for our guitarist was to swap guitars with the opening act. We readied ourselves, and...

The replacement guitar was tuned a step higher. Try as he might - and he tried real hard - he only managed to transpose every second or third chord correctly, meaning the entire song was a wildly dissonant mess of clashing chords, and as a bonus, I very nearly passed out from the heat.

It probably was memorable. But not quite for the reasons I was hoping.

Best,

853guy
THAT is a nightmare!!!!!
 

pwc1141

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I may have detailed this gig before but imagine NYE in a high ceiling fancy hotel lobby swarming with about 500 guests and us being booked to open for a later large orchestra and choir for which a multi layer stage was built. The drum riser was at the top and about 20 feet in the air. The clarinetist band leader had booked his son on bass, his son's girlfriend on piano and myself. He had to go get something and left the other 3 of us to start. We did and about 3 and 1/2 choruses into the first number, the pianist stopped and looked at me .. "WTF ?" I say and she says "Oh I thought you would like a solo". "But not half way through a chorus you idiot !!" I say.. with that she started to cry and rushed off stage with her boyfriend following to console her. Within seconds the band leader returned and after a quick explanation he suggested Sweet Georgia Brown as a duo. We get through a couple of choruses and he suddenly sees the Hotel Manager way down below and starts to climb down to lick a*se and leaves me playing the tune's vamping pattern all alone 20 feet in the air facing 500 bemused guests down in the lobby. The gig went down hill from there .......
 
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varatrodder

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Showed up to a gig with a backline kit. I was told I only needed my snare and cymbals. The kit had no hardware...none...not a single stand.

Fortunately I lived close enough that I could drive home and get my own stuff, but we had to start about an hour late.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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There's been several nightmare gigs during my time as a working drummer (dusty rodeos, boat gigs, gas powered generators, biker rallys etc.) but here's two recent ones that come to mind:

Band played an outdoor wedding reception at a ranch.
On sheets of plywood laid over a manure pile.
It was the day after a hard rainstorm.
Think about it.


Then there was that drunken nightclub owner who once paid us at gunpoint.
Long story.
 

shuffle

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The same story as before:400 bikers,25 women,a dog on acid.
Buck knives full of powders, we played 9pm to 6am w very few breaks.
Goldwing burnt to a crisp in the bonfire!
Rough but lived!
 

RyanLovesDrums

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too many to recall....worst was when I was drinking at gigs, this was decades ago. Got so drunk I fell off my throne...wasnt my finest hour. Havent had a drop since.

F
That was my worst gig too. Involved drinking too much. The gig involve me just playing the Cajon thankfully but these guys I played with I had never played with before and we rehearsed just a few hours prior to the gig. The gig was across the street from the guys house at a pretty nice restaurant and right when I got there to the guys house to rehearse, they broke out a bottle of tequila and I drank a little too much of that and by the time I got to the gig, I stupidly ordered a beer. The next thing I remember is that I woke up on stage sitting on my Cajon “playing.” I got real embarrassed because everybody was looking at me I thought so I grabbed my cajon and just walked out of the restaurant to my car where I tried to sober up before driving home. Needless to say, I never got paid for the gig and the guys never called me back.
 

hefty

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A stomach flu ripped through my entire band one by one (minus the lead guy interestingly) during 3 nights of multi-set, out of town gigs. It didn't hit me until the day of night two... I remember the lead singer telling us "if you really have to go while we're up there, run for the toilet, we'll figure something out." Somehow it stayed bottled up for everyone for all the shows (afterwards not so much). But it was miserable. Sweating under the lights, stomach gurgling.

On the positive side it was a lesson in how much I could endure and still play! I've used it many times when I was tired or whatever heading into a gig.
 

Wheresmyroadie?

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Its a long one, but worth it...


In my early teens I was lucky enough to spend my summers in a band, playing mostly amusement parks sprinkled up and down the East Coast. Our manager was my Stepdad; the wonderful guy who taught me what a father is supposed to be, unlike my real one.

Palisades, Lincoln and all the other parks had large ballrooms and on the weekends they really packed them in. We were living the life and rolling in dough, so we never complained when Dad would book free gigs for charities, VA hospitals, mental institutions and the like. It wasn't strictly for PR purposes, but we wanted to give to those who were mostly ignored. The object lesson wasn't lost on us, either.

In 1962, he booked us into a gig near Taunton, Massachusetts at the Paul A. Dever State school, also known as the Myles Standish School for the Mentally Retarded. It was situated on 1200 acres with 15 "L" shaped dormitories; Ugly brick structures with bars on every window. It was a very scary place.


We had been told that the school had become a repository for kids with Downs Syndrome, traumatic brain damage, kids with physical deformities and any kid whose parents had decided were "unmanageable." Believe it or not, that's the way it was back then...


We were ushered into a large auditorium with seating for 300. We were told under no circumstances to leave that smelly, hollow place, so we set up onstage, closed the massive red curtain and retired to the dressing room in the rear.

It wasn't long before we heard the commotion of people entering the hall and jockeying for their seats.The murmurs of expectation from our audience got our adrenaline going and we took the stage. The curtains opened and we started our set. The kids were loving it.

The fourth song in was a tune where I came out from the drumset, sang and played harmonica. This was always fun because we drummers spend our stage time in the back. I always enjoyed my time in the spotlight, but not this time.

I got about two notes of my harp solo out when the crowd erupted. Suddenly there was a melee like we had never seen before. Everyone was punching, biting, throwing things, screaming...some were even harming themselves. The few attendants were quickly overwhelmed and kids were even ripping the wooden seats out of their moorings and beating each other with them.

We had witnessed violence at the gig before, but never on such a massive scale. The curtains closed and one of the school officials ran onto the stage, yelling "Don't play another note on that thing!"

It was my harp that set the whole thing off.

Later, they told us the high frequencies were a trigger and had they known I played Harmonica, they would have had me skip that solo.

We packed up and threaded the bus through a small fleet of ambulances.

Fortunately, the school closed in 1991 from lack of funding and other lawsuits. The entire facility later closed in 2002.
 

old_K_ride

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I played a gig 2 Sundays ago at a legendary Northern Kentucky restaurant/jazz themed club with an exceptionally good 21 yr old blues pianist.
It's been in business since 1984.A DRUM SET has been on stage every day since their doors opened.
So I show up with my own snare,bass drum pedal,cymbals,& sticks...and see that the drums have been taken down the night before.WHAT??!!
Before I left for the gig I put my trap case in the car just in case I didn't dig the hi-hat stand,whatever,I could get one from my car.
Soooo...I ended up bringing the case in to get my stool,snare stand,ride cymbal stand,and hi-hat to play the gig in a sold-out house.
No bass drum...I pulled it off,the crowd still grooved...but it was like playing with my pants down around my ankles.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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Its a long one, but worth it...


In my early teens I was lucky enough to spend my summers in a band, playing mostly amusement parks sprinkled up and down the East Coast. Our manager was my Stepdad; the wonderful guy who taught me what a father is supposed to be, unlike my real one.

Palisades, Lincoln and all the other parks had large ballrooms and on the weekends they really packed them in. We were living the life and rolling in dough, so we never complained when Dad would book free gigs for charities, VA hospitals, mental institutions and the like. It wasn't strictly for PR purposes, but we wanted to give to those who were mostly ignored. The object lesson wasn't lost on us, either.

In 1962, he booked us into a gig near Taunton, Massachusetts at the Paul A. Dever State school, also known as the Myles Standish School for the Mentally Retarded. It was situated on 1200 acres with 15 "L" shaped dormitories; Ugly brick structures with bars on every window. It was a very scary place.


We had been told that the school had become a repository for kids with Downs Syndrome, traumatic brain damage, kids with physical deformities and any kid whose parents had decided were "unmanageable." Believe it or not, that's the way it was back then...


We were ushered into a large auditorium with seating for 300. We were told under no circumstances to leave that smelly, hollow place, so we set up onstage, closed the massive red curtain and retired to the dressing room in the rear.

It wasn't long before we heard the commotion of people entering the hall and jockeying for their seats.The murmurs of expectation from our audience got our adrenaline going and we took the stage. The curtains opened and we started our set. The kids were loving it.

The fourth song in was a tune where I came out from the drumset, sang and played harmonica. This was always fun because we drummers spend our stage time in the back. I always enjoyed my time in the spotlight, but not this time.

I got about two notes of my harp solo out when the crowd erupted. Suddenly there was a melee like we had never seen before. Everyone was punching, biting, throwing things, screaming...some were even harming themselves. The few attendants were quickly overwhelmed and kids were even ripping the wooden seats out of their moorings and beating each other with them.

We had witnessed violence at the gig before, but never on such a massive scale. The curtains closed and one of the school officials ran onto the stage, yelling "Don't play another note on that thing!"

It was my harp that set the whole thing off.

Later, they told us the high frequencies were a trigger and had they known I played Harmonica, they would have had me skip that solo.

We packed up and threaded the bus through a small fleet of ambulances.

Fortunately, the school closed in 1991 from lack of funding and other lawsuits. The entire facility later closed in 2002.
That’s crazy. I play harmonica too by the way. I picked it up years ago when I couldn’t play drums cause of an arm issue
 

CC Cirillo

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This one continues to make me smile decades later:

Played a wedding once in the California central valley at a bowling alley. Set up, kicked it off, and halfway into the first of three sets out of nowhere I developed a reality-altering fever. If I rushed the tempo it was because I was shivering.

Somehow got through it, did the loadout with the help of bandmates, and fell asleep in my truck in the parking lot.

I was awakened near morning by a patrolling deputy who had actually been at the wedding: “You’re going to have to leave. Can’t sleep in this parking lot, but the real crime here is you guys only played one Willie Nelson song.”
 

Dumpy

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Played at a bonfire. Mosquitoes were biting the heck out of us. Then the band leader thought it was a great idea to have BOTH female lead singers without one bit of rhythm play tambourines and that was all I could in my in ear monitors.
 


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