Because my husband is a musician, I've spent many a New Year's Eve watching him play drums all evening, usually with a country and western band. New Year's Eve gigs are supposed to be the highest-paying gigs of the year, but a lot of times that isn't really the case. There's nothing more frustrating than spending an excruciating New Year's Eve watching my husband play at an Elk's Lodge, only to discover - oops! - they can only pay him $75 after all. Sorry!
The most memorably bad New Year's gig my husband ever played took place at some sort of ranch at least an hour's drive away. There had recently been a snow and ice storm, so it was very cold and the roads were treacherous. Shortly after we arrived, we learned that the pipes were frozen, which meant there was effectively no indoor plumbing. If you needed to use the restroom, you could pick your way through the frozen dark to a port-a-potty.
While the band played their four sets, I nibbled on a few snacks and kept my beverage consumption to a bare minimum. I couldn't wait to kiss my husband at midnight, help him load the car and return home to our wonderful, functioning bathrooms.
A close second on the list of bad New Year's gigs was when my husband played an "opry" gig with a cheesy, old-time country band. Don't look for hors d'oeuvres and champagne at the opry, all they have are hot dogs, popcorn and cokes. I've blocked most of that evening from my memory, but I'm sure it was a test of my endurance - and I doubt I managed to get onstage for my kiss at midnight.
Occasionally, we've had a regular New Year's Eve date night. One year I made reservations at our favorite steak restaurant, only to arrive and discover they had no record of my having called. We eventually got a table, but I had to stand in the lobby wearing high heels for an hour first.
This year my husband didn't have a gig, so we decided to start the evening seeing some other bands play. Our first stop was a "club" that appeared to be in a church basement, where some of my husband's co-workers would be playing a set. Everyone standing outside was very, very young. Everyone we saw in our age group was obviously a parent of a band member. Unfortunately, the band we planned to see got bumped to a later slot, so we couldn't stay.
We drove to a real bar across town and ordered drinks and appetizers while we watched one of my husband's former bands play a set. After that, we headed to my sister's house to play games, drink champagne, watch the ball drop, and have Dick Clark remind us of the fragility of life. (Okay, that last one was unintentional.)
So we still haven't established a New Year's Eve tradition. By next year, I expect my husband's current band will be playing regularly and he'll probably be gigging on New Year's Eve. If not, who knows? Maybe we'll think of something new and fun to do.