Past

All Night (1)

kbsitepicsession019I took in the scene as I made my way over.  Waits, Mcshane, Killer, Tony.  All present and accounted for.  And everyone cheerful but already starting to focus on the work ahead.  Yeah, this was sure gonna be an interesting night.  I couldn’t help but grin at the thought.  I gave the shoutout, “I hear you guys could use a decent guitar player.”

Yeah, know where we can find one?” Killer gave the traditional response.  Wasn’t exactly a lodge handshake, but it would do.  I sat down at the far side of the table to give the man enough room to work.  Always bad news to crowd a drummer.

Waits smiled in my direction, “You in shape enough for this old man?”  He was exactly a year younger than me but could pass for twentysomething.  We all knew, but I wasn’t gonna be the one to say it out loud.

Look to yourself, kidstuff.” I threw him the finger of admonition that comes naturally when you hit a certain age.  Come to think of it, that’d been a while ago. “Tonight’s a long haul, junior. And ain’t no one here been haulin’ it longer than me.  I’d be more worried about the bright lights if I was you, they’ll be the ones standin’ in front.”

Tony looked cool, already getting her head in gig mode, she just shook her head.  No worries there.  Mcshane shrugged, “We don’t have to burn heavy all night.  You guys just keep the heat on, when the moment comes we’ll know it.  Just gotta have something to say.”

That was the thing about Mcshane, a man of few words, but he always had something he could say if he wanted to.  And when he did you wanted to pay attention.  Man was an incredible talent.  Good thing he was so nice or he would have been insufferable.

We kept up the jive talk for a while, but the spaces got longer and deeper.  I’d never seen this bunch more into the zone.  We cabled up and checked it in silence aside from what needed to be said for tech.  In some circles the vibe would’ve been read as sullen anger.  It was so very cool to know this was all about being ready to do this thing we’d decided to do.

It had started off as a goofy thought that evolved into a dare, then it sat there as a real artistic thing, staring us down.  “Yeah, I think I could keep a whole night going.” It had been Tony who was brave enough to admit it first.  It would be. “As long as I had enough time to catch my thoughts once in a while.”

No, count me out.” Josie shook her head. “That sounds way too much like hard work for its own sake. I’m not into that.  I’ll come listen though.  It’d be neat to hear someone work it out for a whole night.”

Eventually it had come down to the five of us.  I really had no idea how it was going to go, what roads we’d run, or whether I’d still be standing by the end.  But this was about trust.  Trust the players.  Trust the process.  “Trust yourself.”  I hadn’t realised I’d said it out loud.

I do.” said Tony.  I didn’t know whether she was talking about me or her.  I didn’t ask.  Was good to hear, though.

We’d set it up and had things pretty comfortable.  I took a look around the joint.  Good house.  I guess word had gone around.  And a lot more musicians there than you’d usually see on a working night.  Funny though, I didn’t get the sense they were looking for the crash and burn.  I caught eyes and nodded a couple of ways.  No, felt more like brothers and sisters coming down to see what was possible.  I didn’t want to think about that too much.  I know what I’m doing on a guitar, fair enough.  But don’t make me represent the whole tribe.  There are tons of way better players than me.  More than a few of them were in the house that night.  Then again, I was the one standing there at the downbeat.  I let the thought go.  Thinking would come later.

We hadn’t planned anything.  But for some reason we found ourselves making a ragged, funky circle, facing one another, ignoring the world outside.  There would be time enough for them.  No one said a word but we all looked around and checked in.  Tony went head down, looking for all the world like she was praying.  Then she came back up and showed us she was smiling wide.  One by one we all caught it.  She was right, if we weren’t gonna enjoy this there was no sense doin’ it.  Woman is so wise.

Alright.” I said, “Who wants to play?” I had my loopiest grin on, just couldn’t help myself.  Waits was strapped into his bass, he laughed and grabbed hold of Killer’s attention.  Three notes, slow and steady, by the time he hit four my man had caught on and drums echoed the figure onetime.  Mcshane grabbed a note out of thin air, didn’t seem to make sense at first, but I knew better than to ask questions, so I hit up the space between with a rolling three-beat call.  We worked it for a few bars, and it settled into a thing, almost blue, groovy yes, but we could stay here for a while.  No worries. Tony walked over to the edge of the stage and sat down, very much present and attentive, but making it obvious she was gonna give us the space to let us walk for a bit.  So we did.