Stage Moments By Kate McWilliam.
Ever had one of those dreams when you suddenly find that
you are naked in a public place? Well an embarrassing stage moment is
a little like that. Quill classics include a former fiddle player falling
through the stage, still playing, which for my money is a pretty impressive
stunt: clothing riding up or literally coming apart at the seams and complete
mechanical or operator error.
Joys specialty seems to consist of items of clothing that misbehave shall
we say. Her trousers have split and not so long ago a top suddenly decided
to unhook itself completely at the back. She handled these of course with
her usual aplomb. A little more difficult to escape was a terrible moment
offstage at a caravan park in Cornwall, that involved both of us. We were
getting changed in a tiny little loo, that didn't lock, and had reached
the point of being completely starkers when the young compere opened the
door. There was nowhere to hide, for a split second the three of us exchanged
glances of complete and utter horror before the hapless young man took
his leave muttering apologies. When we were respectable again we all had
a good laugh about it.
My classics include strings breaking at the quietest moment of the quietest
song and last weekend a horribly obvious wrong note in Young At Heart
when my bow hair got caught on the bridge. Something had to give and this
time it was the tuning.
Going back to clothes or lack of them I am forced to remember an occasion
at Butlins Bognor when a particularly short dress that never rode up decided
of course to ride up at the back over my new shiny tights. Was I wearing
anything underneath was I heck, trying to avoid the deadly VPL.Our drummer
of the time certainly got an eyeful as it proved impossible to play Jig
A Jig and pull it down at the same time- most embarrassing. These days
its sensible double gussets for me, sod vanity.
Our guitarist Paul had his own special moment, the curse of Le Frog due
to an over large gland (Paul can explain which one). Le Frog would manifest
itself as a sudden croak in his voice when he was singing lead vocal.
I never thought they were that bad myself. .
Dave Bailey has known some uncomfortable moments in his long musical career.
On one occasion he discovered that the previous band had covered his keyboards
in Vaseline, not good showmanship on their part although it must have
made for an interesting introduction. Another memorable event was a live
TV show that he recorded in the early seventies. The timing was crucial
and the band was supposed to play for about 3 or 4 minutes at the most.
However, the guitarist got thoroughly carried away and played an extended
solo lasting 8 minutes. The terribly clipped English announcers were going
ballistic, the producer was red in face with anger and in a last desperate
attempt to get the bands attention they took off their coats and whirled
them round and their heads like matadors at a bullfight.
My all time best comedy moments have to be the smoke machine getting stuck
at Stourbridge Christian centre obliterating the band completely and most
of the audience, and the piece de resistance of all dodgy moments, the
alternative Quill wedding dance. This occurred at a very well to do wedding
in Berkshire and the Bride and Groom had asked us to play "Show Me
Heaven" as their romantic first dance. This was not an easy task
but we dutifully learnt it and the scene was set, bride in her beautiful
dress gazing adoringly up at the groom all the guests looking indulgently
on. The keyboards played the first chord and as the rest of us joined
in it became clear that something was very wrong. In fact it was the most
god-awful noise I have ever heard in my life. The keyboards had been programmed
incorrectly and had started far too high, but the rest of us were still
playing in the original key. The happy couple looked slightly perplexed
but carried on regardless. We did discover eventually what had happened
and the second half of the song sounded something like it was supposed
to. Ben covered our backs by asking the wedding video man to replace our
version with the original. These days we always check the keyboards so
fear not future brides and grooms.
These are just a few of our dodgy moments. It's been great fun remembering
them. I like to think that they're proof that the music is live and the
people are real. It's all part of the entertainment.