I opened the Centennial Stage today at 2:15. I wrestled with the tunings of my mandolin and guitar all set and I blame the old strings on both of them. It was a good crowd of seniors cruising Ag Hall, some of whom knew who I was. There were also a couple of kids including Scoot, a young girl who has been a fan since toddlerhood. She asked for Ants Go Marching In, so I definitely included it in the set, inspite of the number of mature adults in the audience. But, they knew why I played the song.
When I did Peanut Butter, I got everyone to sing along and, noticing that a uniformed guard was off to my left, I leaned on him to do the movements and singing. He graciously did and helped break the ice with everyone else. Ask the cop to join in. Later, I thanked for playing along and he said he knew who I was and what a good show I do. That was very cool.
I was billed as Fractured Folk for Kids and Adults so I did I Wanna be a Dog, Vegetable Song, Giants and others and finally finished up with some adult stuff like Rosie and Pay Bo Diddley. It was a good set, though I was battling the instruments, always slightly out of tune. I’ll have to change some strings before tomorrow.
I play this gig for a few bucks in tips, but, as always, I play for the opportunity to explore this unique audience of elders and a few kids. They seem to come for a reason and manage to stay and enjoy what I do. Worth the effort despite the pay scale.