Gig Journal

Springstep, Medford, MA. October 28, 2005

Solo guitar at Brookes Estate Gala.

Springstep is a dance complex in Medford Center. The building is new; when we moved to Medford about six years ago, it didn't exist. Now it's the first thing you see from the rotary that empties route 93 traffic into Medford Square.

The auditorium is a large rectangular room with a raised stage at on narrow end, floor-to ceiling windows at the other end, and tall mirrors (for the dancers) along one wall.

I arrived early and began to set up on the stage. The woman running the event said, "Oh, I thought I'd have you set up over near the tables." and indicated an area in front of the mirrored wall. I was actually relieved to not be up there alone on that big stage, but rather down on the floor, where the guests would be milling around.

I had been told there was a sound system, so I brought my small Peavy amp. But now I was set up about thirty feet from the stage -- and from the sound system. There was no way my Peavy was going to fill that room. The sound man arrived and I asked him if I could plug in to the house system. He was a little reluctant, as if he didn't want to bother. He asked if I had an XLR output, and seemed a little disappointed when I said yes. I had brought my direct box. unfortunately, my XLR cable was only 20' long and I was 30' from the input to the sound system. Fortunately, the sound guy had an XLR extension. He hooked me up and spent all of ten seconds doing a sound check. But it was enough.

The sound system was one of the best I've ever played through. Two tall, skinny Bose speakers on the walls on either side of the stage, and a series of small Bose speakers in the ceiling, which rose in a gradual slant back from the stage in a series of V-shaped concaves housing the lights and speakers.

From the first few chords of my opening number, "Here's That Rainy Day", I was astonished by the sound, which seemed to eminate from the walls, floor, and ceiling, as if the room itself were the guitar.

As the evening wore on, the room filled with guests, and the guests, enjoying the wine, grew more garrulous, I was able to adjust the volume ever so slightly and still fill the room with sound while still remaining in the background. Quite a few people came up and said they enjoyed the music. That's often the way: people are listening, whether they appear to be or not. Music reaches them.