Beyrouth 1

On Tuesday I landed in Beyrouth/Lebanon for my first venture into the Middle East. I am performing at Mojo Jazz Club for three nights, and last night was my first night on the gig. It is always slightly nerve-racking to go into a situation, where I have to perform with a band consisting entirely of people I don't know, especially when there is only very little rehearsal time involved. Granted, my music isn't terribly complicated, but, to quote myself, it's "A little bit tricky" (but not that hard).
Strangely, upon arriving at my hotel on Tuesday and taking my first walk in the streets of Beyrouth, it felt a bit like New York. People are loud, energetic and have a gruff exterior, only to reveal a minute later that they are your best buddies (well, ok, not quite like New York) AND they drive like maniacs!!! I was warned twice on my way here NOT to attempt to drive in Beyrouth, unless I had lived here for a few years. OK, point taken.
In any case, back to the show. So far so good, I would say, and I think the band agrees, that we found each other during the second set of the first night. All of a sudden there it was - common ground. Not that the first set was bad, but THE CONNECTION opened up during the second set. Funny thing happened during the first one though. Georges K., the pianist, dropped the last page of his chart during his solo, and, while I was perusing my shakers, I went over to him and put it back on the music stand. On my way back I noticed that the piano had gone eerily silent during the solo (he was using a keyboard, btw)!!! Looking down on the ground I noticed that a cable was unplugged, and Georges was grinning at me helplessly. Turns out while helping him get his charts back together I also robbed him of his sound by inadvertently stumbling over and unplugging his power chord! oh, the joy of live performing! Next time I'll bring a solid roll of duct tape and tape all lose ends to the floor.
Off to explore new corners of this great old city! I might blog again on this one, if the wifi holds up (sitting on the floor in the doorway of my hotel room, which is the only place where I can get an occasional connection). Until next time...

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