All week long, we'd eyed Saturday's weather forecast with some concern. From about Wednesday on, we knew there was a chance of rain for Saturday afternoon. Friday was a beautiful, sunny autumn day, so we were hopeful that Saturday might be the same.
On Saturday morning, it was cool and clear when we went to pick up my PA speakers and have breakfast. When we got home, we began setting up tables and chairs in the yard and band equipment on the back deck. By then, the inside of the house was pretty spotless (for us), so most of our efforts were concentrated on the outside.
Just as my band arrived, it began to rain lightly. We moved the more sensitive electronics under the overhang of the porch and waited. My husband's band arrived. They, too, stood under the overhang and waited. We kept waiting, but the rain did not let up. As other guests began to arrive, we decided to load all of the band gear into the basement.
Guests kept coming and we all crowded into our small house. I moved the soft drinks to the front porch, but the tub of beer was too heavy so I left it outside. It kept raining, but not hard enough to deter someone who wanted a beer.
I tried to mingle with guests and also pay attention to my bandmates, who looked a little lost. Finally, I returned an idea that had surfaced when we first decided to stow the gear, "Let's just set up the bands in the garage."
Both bands were game, so we began sweeping leaves and dirt out of the garage to clear a spot for the drums and guitar amps and make sure people didn't track too much mud around. We hauled the gear from the basement into the garage and got everything set up. After one trip to the music store for some missing cables and connectors, we were ready to go. The party had been going on for about two hours by then, and unfortunately, some of our guests had already left.
We took all the chairs we could find that weren't soaking wet and lined them up on one side of the garage for the audience. The band setup was on the other side. We knew it was going to be LOUD. There was absolutely nothing in the room to absorb sound, and with acoustic drums and my guitarist's Marshall amp, there would be no chance of keeping the volume to a minimum. We hoped none of the neighbors would call the police.
My band played the first set: five covers and two originals. My husband's band followed with a set of about five or six songs, then we played six covers and two more originals, including the one for which I wrote lyrics last weekend. After my husband's band played one more time, we opened things up for any musician who wanted to jam.
Let me mention that during my husband's last set, I was in my kitchen sipping cognac with some of my friends. I hadn't really taken into account that I would be asked to sing again, but I was apparently the go-to gal for all jam vocals. Thanks in part to the cognac, I was willing to sing any song I even sort of knew. We did some AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Van Halen, Motley Crue, etc. It was all pretty bad (and we have every performance on videotape, so I'll have a chance to see exactly how bad it was).
My band decided we should get up one last time and do Iron Maiden's "The Trooper." I think I used to sing it in a band years and years ago, but I really only remembered the basics. I went online and printed out the lyrics because I didn't have any of them memorized beyond the first half of the first verse. Believe it or not, it actually went pretty well (although I guess I'll need to see the tape to know for sure).
All in all, we had a great time. Nobody called the cops. Everyone seemed to enjoy the bands and the potluck food. Despite the rain, the excessive heavy equipment handling and the rather crowded conditions in the house and garage, it was a lot of fun.
Naturally, the rain cut our party attendance fairly significantly. Still, if you count us and the various children who were there, we had a total of about 41 people come and go throughout the day. If it had been a nice day, we probably would have had 60-70 guests, but the numbers worked out well under the circumstances.
Next year I think we'll move the party back to late spring or early summer. The risk of rain dogs us no matter when we have the party, but at least we don't have to worry about it being cold out then. The important thing is that the bands play outside on the deck. I'm hoping my hearing returns to normal soon...