When I was a drama kid, I was required to take Theatre History. It was mind-numbing for most of the time, but one awesome thing I took from it was a tidbit about vaudeville actors. Apparently, when vaudeville was in its prime, two complete strangers could meet at the stage entrance, compare notes, and do an entire show, no rehearsal required, just by creating a rundown of pre-established bits that were being done all across the land. Mind-boggling, right?
Last night, Andy Mac and I did our first of at least four, and hopefully more, gigs at the Irish Rover in Astoria. We've done hour-long sets before, and on one occasion, we traded sets (I helped him out when his voice went out) at the Diving Bell, but we had never done three full hours together.
Andy is a consummate professional -- when I tell you that I play a lot, know that Andy plays even more often. When he's not doing his own shows, he's doing sideman gigs as a percussionist.... Which is what he thought he was going to be doing last night. I surprised him by learning the first half of his latest album, "Struggle Fantastic," and having the charts at the ready (I had practiced with my iPod so I could nail it at the show.)
Other neat things happened -- we played a completely new song, "Is It Enough," which literally had never been played at a show, much less in front of people. I showed it to Andy as we were setting up, he made a suggestion about the prechorus, and an hour later, we just shot it out into the air. That was rad. Also, a version of "Use Me" where we traded verses.
I think my favorite part was when we played "The Way Things Are," which Andy had never heard or played before, and we got to the bridge, with its bouncy rhythm change-up, and he landed on the cue of me bouncing on my toes to indicate that the change was happening. Totally non-verbal, totally awesome. Can't wait to do it again.