Das Awkscht Fest is a premier vintage auto show, right here in the Lehigh Valley, and the promoters actually book L.V. acts to play in the wonderful band shell in the Macungie Park. I was asked to put together a band for the Friday afternoon schedule so I asked Kris Kehr, Dina Hall, John Christie to join me in a fairly benign gig, great sound system and a smattering of audience members. An opportunity to play for pay.

We put in several practises. Dina, Kris and I have played together before, but we had some new tunes to try out. John Christie, a friend who has worked with me on family gigs, was available and eager to join the project. John worked on the material and his guitar work was professional.

A beautiful day in the park and in the bandshell. It’s alway fun to have full stage sound with monitors. We got set up and started in on the set. Things were a little rough early as we adjusted to the situation.

It was a tech nightmare for me and I was quite lucky to have Dina Hall to lean on while I dealt with my guitar problems. Dina has become a very stable performer on stage, with command of her guitar, vocals, introductions and all the finer points in leading a folk band. She saved the day.

I was set up to lead my tunes on guitar and then back up Dina on mandolin, things I love to do in this musical combination. I broke a string during “I Can See Clearly Now”, a new and challenging song in the repertoire, and my guitar went wildly out of tune, to the point that I didn’t want to hit the last chord. We limped through it. Tough. Thankfully, Dina had some tunes to lead with while I changed my string.

I had a wonderful time finding my role as a mandolin sideman, adding fills and rhythm chops. good stuff.

When it came around for me to present the next song, I got fuzzy sounds from my guitar. The battery was dieing so I had to sideling myself again, find a battery, de-tune two strings and reach inside to pull the bad one out and replace it, re-tune my guitar. Then I broke another string. Melt down in Macungie. Again, Dina stepped up in style, as did John and Kris.

Eventually, I had my guitar back and ready to play. I mentioned that at least we weren’t playing in public (not too many folks in the seats). We finished off with Lessons from Pete, and it was the real deal. We ended strong. We actually had some folks come up and thank us for the music. We were the only acoustic band on the schedule, and were appreciated for that sound.

Tomorrow I travel with two guitars.

My nightmares most usually revolve around technical glitches, like faulty chords, mike stands, guitar failure, followed by getting-to-the-gig trauma woes, but today was in real time, though I survived thanks to my real time friends on stage.