January and February of 2020 were pretty great months for live music. Live music? You remember live music, right? February was crazy busy and March of last year started out like every other March. Lots going on. The local bar live music scene was booming. Nearly every bar had bands playing on the weekends- not quite like the 80’s, but much better than nearly the past two decades. The Chance Theater was cruising along and Daryl’s House was selling out pretty regularly. Indoor and outdoor concert venues were hosting some great tours and I was lucky enough to see several during the past summer and fall. I also have the distinct honor, privilege and occasional challenge of working at two amazing, historic music venues- The Chance Theater and Daryl’s House.
Two very, very different clubs that have two things in common- packed crowds and great live music When March 12th came along, it was like many other Thursday’s. I got out of work, ran home quickly and then headed out for my thirty minute drive to Daryl’s. There was a show at The Chance as well, but I was working Daryl’s that night. They had a packed show with an Eagles tribute band. They are a very good band with several nights booked. I believe they were scheduled for three sold out evenings. We were all aware of the crazy new virus to come out of China, but little did we know the effect it was to have on the music and entertainment industries. At the end of their show, they made the announcement that the remainder of their appearances were canceled.
Canceled due to a virus. Soon to be a pandemic. After the show, we were told that the club had to close temporarily. Everyone thought it would pass quickly and we’d be back at it in a couple of weeks. Fourteen days to stop the spread, right? There were full schedules of shows booked for both of my clubs and hundreds of others. There were large, full production concerts and festivals booked all over the world- hell- I had (have) tickets for three of them! That was one year ago tonight. One year. One year of no clubs, no theaters, no arena shows. One year without a genuine, full band, real live show.
Don”t get me wrong- this is not about me. I had two amazing part time gigs, but I have a full time job and was about to be deemed “essential.” I have friends who make their livings working in the live entertainment industries. I have friends and many acquaintances who are musicians with no other means of income and friends who strongly supplement their income with music. I’m not sure who or what is going to be left when this is over, but I miss it. I miss it as a fan and as an employee. I miss the two very different types of excitement from both perspectives. I miss the late nights and being tired for a good reason. I miss the ritual of rushing around to either club and doing my regular pre-show routines. I miss the fans, as quiet or as crazy as it can get. I miss meeting the performers- sometimes legends, sometimes ordinary people, sometimes a little bit of both. I miss being a part of the show- whether being at the door greeting the crowd, in the pit keeping order, or on the side of the stage witnessing history.
I can’t believe it’s been a year. I miss my friends. I miss my work families. Most of all, I miss the music…I think I even miss the bad music. Thank God there is now a glimmer of light at the end of this very long tunnel and the faint, but distinct roar of a real live crowd in the distance.