There’s always one at every party. A girl or guy who has consumed a large amount of liquor and decide that they need to be the entertainment for the evening and refuses to
let the band that was hired do their job.
I was laying around the house one Saturday afternoon when I received a call from an old girl friend asking if I was available to play at a party that she was throwing in a few days, for her brothers birthday. As much as I hated the last minute request, I still said yes. I just can’t turn down a paying gig.
Sharon and I have been friends since first grade. Thanks to Facebook, we started talking again and figuring out we were living within 20 miles of each other. Hubby and I had been invited to their house for a diner prior to this party, so we knew they had room for us to set up some kind of acoustic guitar set. Their house was located where I would call, “the sticks”. It’s an hour trip on the main roads, and 15 minutes more on gravel roads. Now your deep into the woods. I don’t care for living out there like that. It so silent it’s almost creepy.
The house was really nice though. A ranch style that looked to be around three thousand square feet, and sat in the middle of four or five acres of beautiful landscaping. I was glad though, that we didn’t bring the whole band in here. From what I had gathered from the diner we attended here earlier, her crowd would be a bit more toned down compared to what we were used to. We traveled light by only bring the acoustic guitars, amps, monitors, the board and the microphones. Sharon had some really cool crushed red velvet chairs with super long legs, which put you at a perfect height for playing guitar. We got everything set up before her guests started arriving, so we had time to chat with her and her husband Ron, and get to know each other better.
People started arriving and I decided to myself that I was correct about the crowd. They did dress nicer than dive pubs and biker parties. No disrespect to the biker party attire, or the dive pub dress code. There was a spread of food for a king lined wall to wall around the kitchen and dining area. The birthday cake looked more like a wedding cake. All white icing with three tiers of layers and a statue of a pair of black dice on top. I was informed it not only was Sharon’s brother Bobby’s birthday, it was also a send off party. It seemed Bobby had landed a great job, and was leaving for Vegas. It made a little more sense why most of the people arriving here already seemed to be intoxicated.
We decided to start up now that it looked like everyone was eating and drinking. Everyone had broken up into
small groups with people fading in and out of them. Some people had skipped the spread of food displayed and
went straight for the bar stocked with everything from beer to champagne. Although I did notice one group
who was sticking straight to the tequila shots, which never turns out good. In the tequila group was the guest
of honer, Ron, Sharon’s husband Bobby and two other gentlemen I didn’t know. My eyes kept drifting towards them.
I had a feeling these guys were going to get out of hand. I went into our first song ‘Rhiannon” and kept the Fleetwood vibe going by transitioning straight into “Sisters Of The Moon” and ending with “Gold Dust Woman”.
Everyone seemed to quiet down and enjoy the show. That is exactly what I was going for. I call it the “mood” trick. You can set the mood of the room by the songs you choose to play. I am a big believer in this theory.
Or at least I was. We were going to start back up with “Barracuda” by Heart, but as the first few chords were
strummed, we heard someone yell across the room, “Lynyrd Skynyrd!” At the top of their lungs. Guess who it was!
It was Ron the birthday boy. I just shook my head. I had a sinking feeling as to what was coming. Past experience
has taught me that the birthday person will either have a really great time, or a really really bad time. If depressed before the party, then mixed with liquor, can be a bad combo. I tried to ignore him and I thought I
would get to sing the song but he stood up from is chair and made his way to the corner of the room where we were
playing. “Great!”, I thought. “Here he comes.”
“Excuse me little lady,, but do you know Hoootel Callliforniaaa?”, he slurred.
He proceeded to grab the microphone stand while pulling the mic away and placing the stand behind him. I had stopped playing my guitar, and of course Hubby did too. We just looked at each shaking our heads, because we have been here before, so many times. I know it was this guy’s birthday, but damn. I try to just “go with the flow”, I just said to him, “Sure, dear!”. I turned back and nodded my head to Hubby to count off and start the song. This was about to turn into a Karaoke night! Why can’t just one person, who does this to people, be able to actually sing? That would make it a hell of a lot easier to listen to their singing. He softly started singing the words, really low, and somewhat off key. It wasn’t until he hit the note for “Welcome”, to the Hotel California”….. When he hit that note on welcome, it was like a nail on a chalkboard. He then really started to get into the performance. After all it was his birthday. He was letting everyone know to watch him on his special night. As the song was about to come to and end, he was getting louder and louder. He started getting in a jumping pattern that didn’t even go with the beat of our guitars. As I stood back behind him now, I noticed his jacket pocket had something hanging out of it. It was made out of a tweed material, so I decided to pull on the object hanging out of the pocket, and hoped that he couldn’t tell what I was doing. I had a feeling it was his keys. Something made me grab them and slip them around to my back pocket and I shoved them down to the bottom of the pocket and pulled my shirt down in the back to try to cover the small bulge I could feel. He yelled into the microphone. “I’m going to McClearys Bar , who’s with me ?” Screams of agreement came from a group of guys that had gathered in front of us. “Yeah, Yeah,”,, then the dialogue changed and they surrounded him, different people saying, ” No man, let’s stay here.” “Your sister is gonna be pissed man, stay here.” ” No Man, I ain’t driving, I want to go home tonight.” They were quickly changing their minds so we started playing again. I decided to switch it up with some Melissa Etheridge, “Like I do”. We just kept rocking with a lot of female artists, but we did throw our version of Guns and Roses “Sweet Child” in there just for fun. Alas, all the while we are finishing our set for the night, Ron is going around the entire house looking for his car keys so he can go down to the pub. He was very very intoxicated, and with his sister Sharon chasing him around, trying to calm him down and act like everything is all right to the rest of the guests. His keys stayed safe and sound in my jeans. Hubby didn’t even see me swipe them.
So,, two in the morning came and there was birthday boy Ron asleep on the couch. Safe and Sound. The keys to our success are sometimes in someone else’s hands.