Saturday morning I had to be set up and ready to perform by 10am at a venue about an hours drive away so it was up quite early to load up the gear and get out the door before 8am.
The event was the All American Classic Custom Car and Bike Show and for my performance I was to be Jake (the short fat Blues Brother).
Although I find being Jake great fun I have only taken on the role a very few times so last week I had spent a 2 or 3 hours rehearsing my parts/songs. Luckily the Elwood I work with is a seasoned performer and there is not much he does not know about the Blues Brothers, he even drives an old American Police car complete with the large speaker on the roof. Heads turn when he arrives at gigs.
So the morning was to be fun, I would be following the prompts/directions Elwood gave me. The sun was shining, the traffic was light and I was making good progress around the M25 when I got a text “Blues mobile blown out, will not be to gig before 12:30” (our first set was scheduled for 10).
Elwood told me he had left a message for the event organiser and let him know he was going to be late, so we would be starting later. When I got close to the venue (a racetrack) my spirits lifted at the sight of an American Police car (I thought that Elwood had been fooling me about the blown out Blues Mobile), however there was no speaker on the roof? As I turned into the drive at Sandown Park everywhere I looked there were American Police cars all with their lights flashing and lots of American Policemen wandering about.
Security let me into the grounds to find my venue. Once inside the venue it was breath taking, there were the most wonderful cars and bikes I have ever seen. I wandered through a hall which was filled with “Film cars” both of Steve McQueen’s Bullet cars were there, Ghost Busters, Dukes of Hazard, Greased Lighting and even Mr Bean was sitting on top of his classic car amongst the dozens and dozens of ofthe most iconic film cars.
It took a guy with the HV jacket and walkie talkie about 10 minutes to locate an organiser who could tell me where to set up.The HV jacket man told me that my first set was not to be inside, but out the front of the venue with the American Police cars.
There was no cover but a gazebo was on it’s way so I started to set up the gear. I had set up, shared a dressing room with Elvis, so I looked the part in my BB gear and it was about 9:45. One of the organisers arrived.
“Sorry there is no gazebo but if it rains we will rally around the troops and get your gear undercover real fast, you can start a little early if you like as people are arriving now, where’s your partner?”
It started to cloud over, Elwood’s message had not got through to the events team.
I was directed to the boss to explain the situation, I was amazed at the guys attitude, he was the coolest cool dude in cool ville. “It’s not your fault and it can’t be helped, but can you put on some recorded music to give the people in the queue something to listen to”. After about 30 minutes one of the organisers approached me to say they had had a message form Elwood and things were not looking good,there was no ETA for Elwood so would it be possible for me to start without him.
It was a little odd and for a couple of songs I felt extremely exposed, vulnerable and alone but then I got into it, I was performing a Blues Brother (singular “brother”) Show. I dueted with Elvis, got chased around the foyer by a few American Policemen, danced with some young children, got arrested by the most gorgeous hot panted pretend American Police women and entertained the punters. To top it all when the performance was over I got paid the full fee (no deduction for a missing Elwood) and was sincerely thanked for pulling out all the stops.
I love when success (and the full fee) is clutched from a disaster (no fee) situation.