The Hazards of Playing Music on a Summer Night

As soon as the flashing lights started in the corner of my eye, I knew what was going on. I put down my ancient 100W Traynor amp that weighs about the same as an elephant (okay – I’ve never tried to lift an elephant, but you know what I mean) and sat on the tailgate of the car until the lights disappeared. We were due to play in about a half hour in the summer music series in St. George, the little New Brunswick town where I live, ‘we’ being Stepping Out, our five piece band of Tony on drums, John on guitar, Julie and Dave on vocals, and me on keyboard. I knew the others would arrive at any moment, and when they did, someone picked up the amp on the way past and I, rather gingerly, took in the lighter stuff.

But no more flashing lights, and we played a good concert, and you really can’t beat music on a summer night, preferably outdoors in a band stand, although the unpredictable weather made that impossible.

Next day the eye doc confirmed what I’d guessed: Just a torn retina, the only lasting effect being a bunch of floaters that annoy the heck out of me in certain lights.

The other day it was the same gig, a year later, and I suddenly remembered the incident as I hauled the amp from the back of the car. I’d done it dozens of times since then, of course, but lifted a little more cautiously than usual, all the same.

We played to an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd, several of whom were kind enough to express their enjoyment after the concert and in the days following (it’s a bit like teaching: If someone pays you a compliment on your work, you’re thrilled out of all proportion), and we thank everyone for coming out and hope to see them all again when we play on the waterfront in the Summer Sounds series in the nearby border town of St. Stephen.

On the video: A smoothie! Unforgettable.

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