Remember your first public gig?

Mon Jul 14 14:42:23 EDT 1997

>Here's a new thread (or at least one I haven't seen yet).  For you
>working musicians, do you remember your first gig?  What was it like?
>Where was it?  Did you get paid?  Did anything make it memorable?

        My first public performance, aside from talent shows and recitals,
was when I was 6 years old. My dad taught orchestra in the schools. He let
me play my violin with his elementary and junior high orchestras one night.
After the two concerts, we sat around the table at home, discussing the
evening. I was sitting there with my hot chocolate, thinking I was hot stuff!
         My first paid performance was in high school when I earned $15 to
play patriotic music for 1/2 an hour at some 4th of July event. I've
accompanied many performers and theatrical shows but my first solo
performances were in lounges and for parties as background music, solo
piano. One night, playing at the Tap Room in the Hotel Congress in Tucson,
the singer I played for told me to take over for an hour so she could
deliver a singing telegram. So, I started playing. This bar is like a
hallway. The piano was shoved up against a wall- or, rather, I was. There
was wax dripped all over it from candles they would have on top and drunks
everywhere. They told me to sing, which I did, from my jazz fake book I got
in high school. They liked it so much they didn't want the singer to come back.
         When I finally ventured out on my own, it was at Cafe Ole in
Tucson. I was with a troupe called "Your Own Wings: an American Cabaret". We
did shows in this space and the clubowner was also our producer. She rented
a piano for our shows and told me I could play anytime I wanted in exchange
for a meal. Thats what I did for a year. Lunch, dinner, and sometimes
breakfast (if I was still up from the night before). I didn't know if I had
a following but one night I put on a concert called Lisa Otey and friends. I
made flyers in crayon and charged $1. My dad was in town and sat in on
violin. The place only sat 50 and it was packed! These people all came just
to see me and I didn't know most of them. This was in 1987.
         Last year, I put on a CD Release party for my "Blue Angel" CD. I
rented a hall and got Sistah Blue from Phoenix and Kathleen Williamson from
Tucson to share the stage. I charged $10 and 300 people came! The concert
lasted 3 1/2 hours. Janis Ian had a concert the same night. When hers let
out, a few of her audience came to our show! This town has always been
extremely supportive of me. Even in the beginning when I didn't know what I
was doing, with the rare exceptions of drunks who'd rather hear the jukebox
than live music, they were always there for me.

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