The Great Evening.
Doors opened up for W.O.B. at the Convention Center. We drive in to downtown Nashville round noon. So...., that's the moment: Our feet touch the holy floor of the renaissance hotel. It is probable that Ron Stewart took the same way many times...., good vibes I think!
The registration was fast but I, in the preparation for the tour, had forgot to check in Bernt, our camera tech. No way to bring him in as a "band member". We need him by our side because he's the one to catch up everything on tape for our road movie - upcoming on DVD in December 2012. So we have to pay again and have to choose just the showcases which Bernt need to record.
We're staggered about the "paying for playing" thing here at IBMA. I never would tell anything about fees we had paid before to be part of the business showcase - but we had paid for it! We know: That's business - business conference, of course! We discussed that a lot in the past few month and it's a difficult point. Everyone knows - it's a great chance to be part of that all. So, it's not customary to talk about showcase dues but I could talk about our all over expenses.
Including the Waltons trip to L. A. we paid over $ 13,000 to be here. How long a musician have to work for it? Anyway..., we are here and we'd like to have the time of our life.
My first impression was a lack of people. I mean..., that's the "thing" - the IBMA - W.O.B. but there are just a bunch of people sitting around and picking a bit. A wide facility with lot of rooms, floors and corners but just sparse musicians around...., curious! Presumably because it is Monday. It's a funny thing to walk these floors and look in all the showcase rooms that I so often try to imagine. We reach the exhibit hall where a lot of busy guys ran in and out. We follow some of them into the door. Wooow...., what the hell...?! That's what I call a exhibit "hall!!". It seems much bigger than Corina’s hometown. But what's that...?
Far away in the middle of the enormous room there's a....., stage?! This must be the main stage! Yes..., it is "Main Stage"! We all could not imagine to go out on this stage in a few hours - the same stage was entered by bands like AKUS or Rhonda Vincent - not at the same time, but....!? My stomach begin to cramp - this would be the biggest moment in our band's history.
We try to relax and drive back to the hotel to freshen up a bit. Corina did some more sleeping and showering, having some coffee and Joon is warming up on fiddle. I'm feeling to nervous for warming up - anything that does not work to this point, won't be better for me with warming up.
I try to become more "wide-awake" because I want to feel everything very close. Doesn't work - I'm too excited. 06:45 pm. - we're leaving, headed back to the convention center for the show. A traffic jam is difficult and we arrived very late but just in time. Only 15 minutes left to go out. I try to clamp on my G7th Capo but what the hell is goin' on?? It doesn't work anymore. The whole thing can no longer be opened. Starting to sweat.
Anyone in the green room that have a banjo capo for me?? No....!
Ted Lehman is comin' in. We met him yesterday in Bell Buckle where we had a nice talk! I told him about my problems. He said: "Wait a minute - I will call Greg Cahill!" Time runs on. Greg will come down to bring his own capo. 5 minutes before entering the stage Greg arrived and gave me his capo. Pretty cool to have the capo of such a great banjo player like him on my own instrument. Good vibes, I think!!! Ready to start!!!
The exhibit hall and stage are illuminated with perfect light show - very impressing. An incredible look from the stage. Checkin' the mics - the MC introduces us to the crowd - then take a deep breath and count in "Fish" (name of the first song).
Wow..., the sound on stage is perfect. These guys know their job very well. The next tune starts with a beautiful "out of tune" banjo. Damn..., I try to do my best to bring it back in tune while I play but no chance. Greg's Paige capo is not my type of capo. My left hand pushes it while playing and works like a bottle neck - horrible.
Over all it's a real good feeling on stage and we reached "Goodnight John-Boy" in the program. Corina tells the story behind the song and some people in the audience give a good reply to her announcement when she asked for the most famous Walton" "John Boy"! yells back from the hall.
We do a pretty good version of the song and want to play on but the MC give the advice: "Time over!" It's a very disturbing feeling because we couldn't end up our show correctly. And so it ended with a strange feeling of missing a chance. Corina is very upset and sad. We all need to hug and comfort her - this sudden end of a dream brings tears to her eyes. All the emotions from the last months ended up in this unpleasant abort. I feel good but couldn't be happy over all because she's really sad and her sickness doesn’t make it any better.
But we have to go on - another showcase to follow and it became much better. There were people in the room -we could look into their eyes. That's the best situation for Corina: Talking directly to someone, she smile and the people smile back at her. Everyone could feel how she loves to sing and to stand in front of her "Jungs" how she said often.
Well...., it's too much to tell about shows like this one and events like this. I could write I book about this one evening. There where more thoughts and tears this evening but we are really happy that we've done it. I will write something after this tour as a kind of conclusion and put it all together. Believe me folks....., it is a dream comin' true to be part of the real bluegrass world. While I write these lines Sam Bush is crossing the room and smiles back to me...., I'm a bluegrass musician and that means a big thing to me.