Keith @ Yorba Linda — 30June2007

A bit better than last week when Warren and I played this one together. The audience was a little more responsive, and I had some kids to play for, which always helps. When I first got there, there was a young family with two boys, one reading comic books, and the younger one (4 or 5?) pretty bored. I let him come up and shake the shaker while I played “House at Pooh Corner”, and although he never caught the actual rhythm, he had fun and his mom appreciated it.

And later on, I had a Latino family come in and their little girl Marisela (8 or 9) was totally into it. She danced, applauded loudly, jumping out of her chair in what I came to believe was what she understood to be a “standing ovation”. I got her up to shake the shaker, too, on “Jenny Dreamed of Trains”, so she could try to do the train sound. She really got into “Love Potion Number Nine” and “Lollipop Tree”, and was “dancing” to a lot of songs. Her dancing consisted of bouncing around, trying to mime the specific words of each line as they went by. For instance, she was “rocking the baby” when I sang “Here Comes My Baby” which was literally applicable, but not exactly right…

I was obliged to play with a fake fingernail again, but I explained to the audience that the curse of playing fingerstyle guitar is that you have to have those three particular fingernails intact all the time, and that I had shattered my middle finger’s nail a few days ago, doing something that I can’t recall but I’m sure it was very manly, and so I had to go buy some stick-on nails, which, unfortunately, the closest they had to “natural” color was Pink Pearl, which is not very close at all. I’m sure this explanation was well received by everyone, and nobody thought I was weird at all…

I never did spot anyone that I thought might be the manager for the night, so I couldn’t ask about stopping time or the Mandatory Break. Out of new-found fear, though, I took my first Break, ever. It was kind of strange, but nobody else seemed to think it was odd, and nobody was particularly listening, or so I thought.

I wandered out to the Info desk and talked to the girl there, who couldn’t guess why “they” want me to take a break, but she took the opportunity to ask if I knew how to play “Leaving On a Jet Plane”, which, of course, I *could* play, but don’t. A customer was over using the computer, and after a while walked over and said “Linda Ronstadt”, which was apparently the answer to his unasked question about who originally recorded “Long, Long Time”, which I had just done. I usually announce that song, but didn’t this time, and it was apparently killing him to know who it was, so he used the store’s computer to look it up. Coulda just asked me, but whatever. He also said that he thought I played really well, and did I know “City of New Orleans”, another song I can play, and have played, but it’s not in the book anymore, sorry.

Later on, when I was playing “Old Man” at some guy’s “Neil Young” request, a college-age kid was watching me intently, and when it was over I looked over at him and he did the two-thumbs-up sign, with a kind of knowing look. That was cool, and as I was leaving, he happened to be in his car next to mine, and he opened up the passenger window, called out, “You did a really good job in there, sir!”, and wanted to shake my hand. That was odd, and nice.


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