The gig went really well this week. My voice was in much better shape than last week in Brea, and we had lots of friendly faces. One couple came in to buy some coffee, noticed us, and decided to sit and listen. They were very into it (being big James Taylor fans), and even moved from their table to a closer one when it freed up. The big triangular display structure that usually blocks us from the Comfy Chair area was gone, so we had the luxury of playing to both those people and the café itself at the same time.
We got there nice and late — partially on purpose and partially because of the OC Fair traffic — and set up slowly, to avoid the “starts too early” no-no. We took the requisite Break, and I ended up talking to some of the Comfy Chair people, who were aghast that this was to be our last time playing there. One guy who’s there every time we play immediately got up to talk to the manager. I’m not sure how inclined the manager should be to accommodate the desires of people who essentially use his store as a living room, but maybe it’ll help.
We played to 10:00 and quit (despite no sign of the usual watch-tapping Manager Girl), and it occurred to me that maybe the manager had changed, as they do pretty frequently, and if so, this was our best and only chance to try to fix the black-balling. So we found him, a nice guy named Nick, and he said that he had nothing against us, and would call the district manager on Monday, after talking to his staff to see if there was something treacherous about us that he was unaware of. He’s supposed to call me with the results of all that, but so far, nothing.
But, with some luck, we may get un-black-balled from there, which would be nice since it’s becoming one of our favorite places to play — and it’s a heck of a lot closer than Brea and Yorba Linda. We recently discovered that we’ve been banned from the Mission Viejo store, too. My gasoline budget can’t really afford us getting kicked out of all the close stores so all our $3-in-tips gigs are $10 away.
But, musically and audience-response-wise, it was a great gig. My voice was strong and accommodating, my mind was somehow sharp so my playing was good, and the audience was very friendly. Overall, a great antidote to how badly I felt after the disappointing showing at Brea last week.
I hope I can do as well as a solo at Yorba Linda next Saturday. A lot of it is on me, whether I can connect with some chunk of the audience, but a lot is also on random chance of who’s there, and whether they’re willing to interrupt what they’re there for. If somebody is clearly listening, I get a lot braver to start talking and interacting, and it can be contagious. But I need that one starter…