A while back, I blogged about a time when our lead singer was
sick and his voice just gave out about 10 minutes into a four-hour show. Well, this
past Saturday gave me flashbacks to then. My
cover band was playing a show on Saturday night in Cincinnati and the lead singer
was/is battling a “toothache from hell.” So our gig was supposed to last until 2 a.m.,
but at 1:30, our singer simply declared he was “done.” The announcement was made in
the microphone and that was that.
The final song ends (and, yes, it was “Zombie,” as always) and
the lead singer up and leaves the bar. Our bassist tells the drummer and I everything
is going to be OK and that we’ll just tell the bar owner to take $100 off our price
for the night in exchange for this hassle. Uh … well that plan didn’t work.
I wanna rock right now
I’m Chuck and I came to get down
The plan seemed good until the bar owner walked up and
whispered some words into the bassist’s ears. The bassist turns to me, spooked, and
says “Chuck, you have to sing right now. I’m not kidding, dude, you need to sing
like right now or we’re all dead men.”
OK … but what about the lyrics? And what about how I can’t
really sing? Taking a quick look over the set list, I pick out a few
songs that I can barely pull off: “Alive,” “Margaritaville,” “Johnny B Goode,” “I
Want to Be Sedated.” So off we go. I make an explanation to the crowd and then set
off into some Pearl Jam.
And what happens? The crowd digs it. They seem to realize
instantly that our bus no longer has a driver, and they’re singing along with me,
dancing more than before, trying to show some enthusiasm and keep the party going.
In fact, when 2 a.m. finally rolled around (Thank you Jesus), the dance floor was
packed. My bandmates thanked me afterward for saving the show, but the truth is the crowd saved
the show. They could have thrown rotten tomatoes and little packets of Splenda at
us. But no. They were kind, and that’s a nice memory to have.