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Chapter 14 - GOIN' AROUND IN CIRCLES

Our show that night was at a place called the Westbury Music Fair. This is one of those 'theatre in the round' concepts that were so popular in the fifties and sixties for summer stock musicals like 'Oklahoma' and 'The Music Man.' Now, that may work fine for summer stock but it's not very good for concerts. Where do you set up so everyone can get a decent sight line? How do you set up the sound system to give everyone a balanced mix of Dan and the band? I'm sure this was a real nightmare for our sound crew. Plus, the Westbury had a revolving stage, which compounded the problem even more. People in the audience were alternately watching Dan one minute and then seeing a huge drum set roll around in front of them with a rear view of me playing the drums and I can't even imagine what was going on with the sound.

The other odd thing about working on one of these revolving stages is that, after a while, the constant motion of the stage during the show totally screws up your sense of direction and by the time you've finished playing you can't remember which way the exit is. Don't forget, that from my point of view, it looks like the audience is revolving around the band. Fortunately, the crew was offstage shining their little Maglite flashlights at us like lighthouse beacons to guide us back to our dressing rooms. All things considered though, we had a pretty good show.

We left our hotel the following morning and headed toward our next gig in Harrisburg. The next few days were going to keep us pretty busy, starting with the Westbury gig and then our 200 mile drive to Harrisburg for a show the next day, followed by a 282 mile drive to Buffalo the day after that. By the way, our drive to Buffalo was officially designated in the 'road bible' as a "Travel Day." Pretty sneaky, huh. But, I have to admit there were rewards that balanced our mildly hectic schedule.

One of the first rewards was arriving in Buffalo, checking in to a beautiful hotel and not having a concert that night. That left the evening open and we were all thinking the same thing, a good meal and a good night's sleep would be ample reward for our long day on the road. Well, it seems that the travel agent for Dan's tour knew of an outstanding restaurant in Buffalo and had recommended it very highly to Bernie, our tour manager. It was also conveniently within walking distance from our hotel. So, Dan graciously invited the whole band to a wonderful dinner at The Chop House as his treat. I've always known Dan to be a generous man and he always takes good care of his people.

It was nice to put on some slacks and a sport coat for a change and spend the evening enjoying a wonderful dinner in a beautiful upscale restaurant with good friends. We all knew that we would be back on the bus in our traveling garb and eating fast food all too soon so we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

We also knew that our concert in Buffalo the next evening was going to be at another 'theatre in the round' with another revolving stage. This one was named the New Melody Fair. Well, don't you believe it! There was nothing New about the New Melody Fair. In fact, there are very few of these theatres left and this place was probably one of the first built, maybe even a prototype in its time. Anyway, it looked like it would be another night of playing music on a giant turntable and watching the audience go around.


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