I met up with Corey and Dave at the Bunker around one o’clock. We took down the P.A. and packed up all of our instruments, amps and mic stands. There was a 90% chance of rain in the state of Minnesota. It was drizzling when we went out to load the vehicles.
The drive to Dexter was much of the same with the occasional downpour, but the clouds would try to break apart and the sun would try to peak through. The view was mainly cornfields and cattle all along highway 52, once one of the deadliest in the country. A lot has changed. We knew we were getting close when we reached Rochester and just south came the windmills. These were the giant windmills with huge blades. Dave and I started talking about a supposed sound that the windmills produce and how it affects the people who are constantly around it. In that moment, and as we were talking, we were pulling into a windmill vortex and missed our exit. We circled around and righted our course.
When we arrived in Dexter, Beau was already there and it wasn’t raining at all. Our reliable weather app said 0% chance of rain till 10:00 pm. So when Shane arrived, we pushed our luck and set up our gear under a large and very nice, but in essence inadequate, deck umbrella. We had the stage set up and everything was powered and plugged in and we had just finished eating when it began to rain. There were a couple of gigantic tarps and we tossed one over the deck umbrella and stretched it to fit most of the stage. We grabbed another tarp and threw it over Beau’s drums and synched it down. We had nothing else to do, so we hung out under our stage tarp, which with the help of a small child (eating cheese puffs) became a fort, and we waited for the rain to pass. We were really hoping the rain would pass. And when it finally did, some of the party goers and the band set up a 10×20 tent structure. We slid off the large tarp, uncovered Beau’s drums and moved the tent onto the stage. It was going to work, if it didn’t rain too hard.
We didn’t waste any time after the tent was staked and secured before we started playing. We jumped right into the first set and worked on the mix on the fly. It was an experiment for us. We weren’t sure how the P.A. would sound outdoors and we had a couple new pieces that we didn’t quite know the full potential of. The set was fun and a little nerve racking with the damp and the clouds looming. But we played well and adjusted as best we could. The vocal level was low. We discovered this after the first set when everyone said, “Turn up the vocals.” So we made some adjustments and, under a crescent moon, we kicked into our second set. The mix was much better and the people let us know.
We, and everyone there, made the best of the unpredictable weather. We’re grateful for the opportunity.
We learned a few things from this experience. First, Fireball chased with Dr. McGillicuddy’s/Monster is a kind and potent gesture among friends. Second, and most practically, we learned you must always be ready to act quickly in the outdoors. And lastly, we have come to the conclusion, as a band, that Dolly Parton is in our wheelhouse. Many times, to come to this conclusion you must learn the first lesson above. It’s a hard lesson.
Enjoy your long labor day weekend.
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“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton