3 Gigs, One 14 Hour Day

April 24, 2010 yielded our first 3 gigs in one day! The day’s layout went as follows – I set the alarm for 7:00am, from there Dave spent about 2 hours going over his scales, organizing the music for the 3 gigs, organizing the gear and deciding what he’ll use for each gig. My job is to go over the inventory, deciding how many CD’s of each to bring and if I need more of any CD, I’ll go ahead and put those together. I’ll go over the directions to each gig and approximate how much time we’ll need to get to each. I think about traffic, construction and perhaps alternate routes.

About 10:30am we’ll start setting all the gear and merchandise by the front door. Dave will get dressed in his tuxedo and I’ll change into my dress clothes. Since this is going to be a long day and money is tight, we both pack a couple of sandwiches, chips and water to eat in between gigs.

11:00am we have the car loaded and we are on are way. The first gig is a Wedding Ceremony at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Chicago (wow – a very gorgeous church). On our way there the directions took us through a neighborhood with poor conditions and I was a little concerned. We arrived to the church about 12:30pm. We always try to arrive 1-1/2 hours before start time, which this arrival time put us right on track for the 2:00pm start of the Wedding Ceremony. Once we arrived, we went inside to introduce ourselves to the priest and to decide where we should set up. Then we loaded in the gear we needed for this event, set up, sound checked and went over the structure of the music. We always do a dry run of the order of songs to get Dave in that mind frame of when each song will be played and approximately how long he’ll play each song.

The guests started arriving around 1:30pm, so we had Dave start playing about 1:45pm. At this time, I noticed a group of people starting to line up. These people were not the bridal party, since the bridal party usually is dressed in matching dresses for the girls and tuxedo’s for the guys. Now, we have music prepared for the bridal party but not for this additional group of people. So, instead of winging it, I found the groom and asked if these folks will be walking down the aisle? He responded, yes, these are family members that are being recognized and would Dave perform a song for them while they walk down the aisle. I rushed back to Dave to inform him of the additional music needed and thank God, Dave is the professional musician he is, because he decided to perform a very nice piece that he improvised right on the spot.

The Wedding Ceremony was perfect along with Dave’s mastery of songs he performed. The ceremony ended around 3:30pm, this gave us a 3 hour window to drive from Chicago to Schaumburg for our 2nd gig, a Wedding Reception.

Well, the Eisenhower would be the quickest way to get there; however, it’s under construction and not the best way to go. So, I asked the priest for the quickest directions to get us to 294, which he did. On our way to the reception, Dave took this time to eat his lunch and take a nap while I drove. I did need to get on the Eisenhower; however, it was just for about 5 miles and to my surprise the traffic moved nicely getting us to the reception about 5:00pm.

The reception was at Chandler’s Banquets in Schaumburg and the cocktail hour was scheduled to begin at 6:30pm. Once we arrived there, I ate my lunch quickly and then we went in to introduce ourselves to the banquet manager and review the area to set up. This banquet room was huge. It was set up for 300 guests. We quickly loaded in the gear, set up, sound checked and Dave was ready to begin right at 6:30pm. Dave performed a nice mix of Spanish, Flamenco and Jazz music for cocktails. After each song he performed, the guests would clap and acknowledge their enjoyment of his music. If fact, the DJ bought Dave’s “Tropical” CD. He wanted to add this CD to his inventory and to play during dinner.

Cocktails ended at 7:15pm. We had 45 minutes to pack up, load out, and drive to the Mint Julep Room in Palatine for our 3rd and final gig for the day. Dave took advantage of this time between gigs to eat another sandwich and get stoked for this 2-1/2 hour performance while I drove.

We arrived at 8:00pm, quickly loaded in, set up and Dave was performing by 8:30pm. We used Dave’s first song for sound check, which I walked to the other end of the room to check the volume and 2 guys stopped me and asked to buy Dave’s CD. That was cool; however, the CD’s where still in the car. So I excused myself, ran outside real quick, came back in and sold 4 CD’s to these fine men. The cocktail lounge had a nice flow of people coming in enjoying drinks, food and Dave’s music. I snapped some photos and video taped a portion of his performance.

Around 9:45pm, Dave took a very short break and was back performing. He entertained all these very nice people until 11:00pm. Afterwards, the staff congratulated Dave on a fine performance. One staff member said when he heard Dave was playing that he was very happy he was working because he’s heard about Dave and wanted to see him perform live. So, he enjoyed his evening very much. Other staff members hung out with us and chatted guitar talk and famous clubs. It was a terrific night!

When we loaded out, it was raining…yuck. We did get all the gear safely packed in the car and when I plugged in the GPS to get us home…well it didn’t turn on. Upon further examination of the device I realized the part that plugs into the lighter fell apart. Very strange, well now I have to locate all the parts and put this back together. Of course the spring is the hardest item to find at midnight, in the rain, and going on a 13 hour day. I did find all the parts, put it back together and it worked! Sweet, we are on our way home.

We arrived back home at 1:00am, Sunday morning, 14 hours after we left. Sir Lancelot was acting like he hadn’t eaten in a week, so we made sure he got feed right away and then started loading all the gear back in the house.

It was a great day, a tiring day, a day in time of a working professional musician. We wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
God Bless, Dave & Deb Byron


Dave Byron Guitarist, North Fort Myers, FL