That, in a few short sentences, sums up my gig last week – my 10-song set for the Military Officers Association of America’s monthly meeting.
Actually, it was pretty fun. But before it got fun, I had to negotiate some treacherous territory to make it to the restaurant, which was in the damn boonies. The hour spent on the T was fine. The half-hour bus ride was where it started to get iffy… as the minutes passed, and as, one by one, my bus riding compatriots reached their destinations, there I still was – heading deep into the Weymouth wasteland – until finally, as the last one left on the vehicle, I reached my stop. Which was literally an intersection in the middle of nothing. As in, surrounded by dirt. The end.
Only moderately creepy.
So I got off the bus, looked around, pictured what I must look like standing in the middle of nowhere in my cute little dress with my makeup all done, and just started laughing… I mean I was like, 80% sure I wouldn’t get kidnapped. I just started down the pseudo-sidewalk and hoped I was heading in the right direction. God knows there weren’t any street signs to offer assistance (it’s still the Greater Boston area, after all).
Eventually it became clear that I was on track, but the best it got in terms of civilization along the way was a rather dingy shopping complex, which was actually sort of bumpin’ – apparently, it’s the place to be in Weymouth. Fair enough, though – it had everything a hip, modern American might need! A store called BLDG #19 – GOOD STUFF CHEAP, a Dollar Tree, a… uh… “restaurant” called “Frank’s Place,” and a rockin’ arcade that looked like it hadn’t been renovated since the mid-80’s.
Anyway. On to the gig itself. Everyone was very sweet, but apparently the turnout for this month’s meeting was about a third of what it usually is – according to the wife of the man in charge, “everyone is still in Florida!” Which made me giggle. Again – senior citizens.
So I chatted with everyone, they bought me dinner, and then Mr. In Charge introduced me – “All right everyone, this is Marika. We met her when she was our waitress on the boat… the Boston— the Spirited— the Boston Spirit? What was it? Oh that’s right, the Spirit of Boston. Anyway, she’ll be singing a few songs for us tonight. And don’t miss next month, when we’re going to have Miss Massachusetts come and speak!”
… You know how sometimes you forget to think before you talk? You know. Like when you half-shout, “Uggggghhhhh REALLY?? I’m SO SORRY, everyone!!!”
To which someone responded, “At least you don’t have to follow that act.” Fair point. So, they may forget about me next month as they gaze upon the beautiful face of Miss Massachusetts, but what can ya do.
In any case, I got up, stuffy nose and all, and did my little half-hour show. Mostly jazz stuff (duh), but I DID throw in one of my mother’s originals (which was very well received) and closed out the set with the entirely incongruous choice of Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to Be With You.” Which I decided to throw in because my father always said it was the greatest rock song ever written. Out of place given the jazz-centric set, perhaps, but I dedicated that one to him.
Overall, it was an entertaining experience. And people seemed to enjoy it. Always a plus.
Also, upon reviewing the recording, I learned that:
1) Head colds and notes at the top and bottom of my range are enemies,
2) I make a lot of really awkward faces when I’m nervous, and…
3) I have no idea what the F*CK to do with my hands when I don’t have a mic. Lots of weird arm movements, flapping fingers, opening / closing hands for no apparent reason. Gotta get my stage presence together, that’s for damn sure.
But I did it! First solo gig ever. And I didn’t get kidnapped on the way there. Two big wins in my book.
Just for funsies, here's my mom's original, "Serves Me Right."