Twas a busy Friday with an early split from 4th Street for two RockRoots assemblies near New York in Wallington. 600 kids plus some others bused in for the show. I noticed a lot of Polish and German businesses and schools, plus the kind custodian was eastern European.
There a time in the very middle of the show, after the roots stuff, I ask, “Are you ready to Rock and Roll?” Occasionally, if the response is tepid, I’ll threaten them with “The History of Polka Music”, and the kids always respond louder under that threat.
I got the ‘tepid’ response in the first show, and gave my threat, and I immediately caught myself and said, “Perhaps these kids will dig that”. The teachers got a big chuckle.
I try to search the incoming town for highway numbers, Wawa’s or 7/11’s, the school’s name and mascot, and this time it was spot on. I love the truly creative moments when I can connect with the audience at the moment they recognize I’m improvising with them. Saying something and reacting to what I’ve just said. Trusting that I will come up with something. and unconsciously doing it.
We had to improvise in the second show, with the bus kids arriving late. We had to shrink the 50 show down to 35 minutes. The show is build on its fullness and content, so I hate leaving things out. I started the show from the delta blues and took it from there, with tighter and shorter songs. It made it possible to drive the show home to its conclusion, instead of cutting the show short. It turned out to be the right thing to do, and we all agreed.
Back home and then back to Princeton for Bruce Cockburn tonight.