Bridge Over Troubled Water, part V: the End

Well, it's over … for 2008, at least. We closed the show in Zumbrota last night in front of a sold out house in a 90 year old theater. We had a really good show, the audience was very responsive and everything sounded really good.

Last week's mini-run of Pet Sounds took a lot out of Jeff and me. Nature seemed just fine, but we were both tired and over-extended, vocally speaking. That morning was the first time in a week that I actually felt good, up until then I'd had a very strained set of vocal cords. Those of us who know him realized that Jeff was really holding on for dear life whilst singing the title track. He said he concentrated on every vocal lesson he'd ever had so that he could remain in control. He did and it was great -- not his best, but great nonetheless.

It was so nice to come back to such a comfortable show. Pet Sounds is like playing some kind of orchestral piece, everything has to be note for note and perfect. BOTW, on the other hand, has a lot more rock-n-roll to it, despite the fact that it is a folk album, and rock is a lot more forgiving of small errors. The title track, So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Boxer and Song for the Asking all require great concentration, glossing over any part of them would make the performance suffer. But on the rest of the album you can relax and have fun!

The run at the Pioneer Place was wonderful, of course, but the State Theatre in Zumbrota has a charm about it. In both places, seventeen musicians and a multitude of instruments take of a lot of stage space and we are jammed in pretty tight, but I could hear things in Zumbrota that I couldn't hear in St. Cloud. The strings players singing backups on The Only Living Boy in New York were just wonderful, I had seen them, but couldn't hear them in St. Cloud. Although I heard it every night of the run, Richard's backstage "So long, already!" during So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright was particularly clear at the State.

I am amazed, once again, by the level of musicianship of the people I know. None of the albums we've done have been walks in the park and each one presents its own challenges. It is our job to rise to that challenge and I am astounded by the lengths we will go to in order to achieve our goal. Gretchen played the trumpet and Erin played the trombone (shit, Erin learned the trombone just for the show!), I learned the charango, Al Asmus dug up a bass saxophone, everybody wore multiple hats, from multi-instrumentalist to background singer ... and at the end of the night everybody stuck around and helped the sound guys wrap cords and load out. They commented to us that nobody does that. It just seems to be the right thing to do, I think.

It will feel good to have a few days to decompress, we've all been concentrating pretty hard for the last month or two and a little down time is very welcome. The next challenge is to re-learn Abbey Road and to try to make it even better -- we've learned so much since we first did that album! But I hope we revisit BOTW, that album is such an old friend to me! I'm sure this isn't the end, but only time will tell.


Gretchen said…
I loved playing/singing this show.
Which brings me to this point: Strings AND brass were singing backup in Erin, Ken, Rich and me.
I LOVED singing with my daughter. She and I shared the highest part in "Only Living Boy", splitting only when she stayed on the previously highest note, and I moved (suspension-like) up a step and back several times. For someone who had been unable to sing (well, at least not without major intervention, like a big dose of pertussin!!!) in literally years, it was a BIG highpoint for me.
We brassholes rolled our eyes at Jeff every night when he thanked the 'strings' for singing...sometimes the audience got the joke, too. They could see us, you couldn't!
Cari said…
It was an excellent show. AND it paid for my new kitchen stove! When y'all coming over for dinner?

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