Day 28: Rathskeller
The Rathskeller was not at all what I expected. We had never played there before, but I had a preconceived idea of what the place looked like based on what other people had told me. I expected a large rock club with a huge outdoor beer garden. What we got was completely unexpected.
I stayed with the bus during load in, so the first bit that I saw of the venue was the outdoor beer garden. The parking lot that the club’s manager had us park in was right outside the back gate entrance to the garden. Root, who had parked the bus, and I walked in though that entrance and immediately I was taken aback by the size of the courtyard style beer garden. There was three full bars, a fire pit, rows of picnic tables, and decent sized outside stage. The manager told us that he would have loved to have us play that stage, but the temperatures at night were still a little too chilly for having bands outside.
We entered the building by the entrance directly beside the bar. The bar area had an early 1900’s feel to it, made up of lots of ornate dark wood and mirrors. Taxidermied busts were mounted on the walls, creating a quasi-tavern feel to the room. Passing through the bar area, we entered into the area where the stage was.
Unlike my expectations, the main stage area was not a rock club at all. The room was set up as a ballroom, and again the early 1900’s atmosphere was palpable. There was a stage set up on one end of the room, with a dance floor directly in front of it. The rest of the room was populated with round, white clothed tables. The ceiling was trimmed in slightly intricate painted moulding, making it feel like we were about to perform the first rock show on the Titanic. Across the hall from the ballroom, a fine dining room was full of patrons that could have very well been on the ill fated cruise liner.
The club sets the time for soundcheck so early so that it doesn’t interfere with the dinner crowd. Open Air Stereo was running late after nearly living one of the worst possible experiences for a traveling musician.
Earlier in the day they pulled into a Guitar Center to grab a few things, so everyone went inside and did their shopping. The tour sound engineer, Trox, who is traveling with them, came back out to their van in time to see a suspicious vehicle speeding away from beside their Sprinter. Thinking it strange, he opened the side door of their van to find a pile of broken glass on the floor. Security cameras showed a vehicle follow them into the parking lot, wait until they went into the store, and then try to rob them. Fortuitously, Trox came out just in time, so that while they had smashed the driver side window, nothing had yet been stolen. They then got stuck spending hours waiting and filing police reports. They rolled up to the club with just enough time for a quick soundcheck before we had to keep quiet for the dinner guests.
In keeping with the GTA theme, we were told by one of the fans during our dinner, (which was amazing, by the way… AND provided by the venue! Talk about good looks! Two nights of dinners in a row!)… Anyway, she told us that she had locked her keys in her car. Ben and I felt fairly confident that we could get into the car without smashing any glass (too soon?), so we headed outside.
Being an all ages show and not to far from their home, Ben and Gail brought along their 14 year old daughter to the show, and needless to say, she was thrilled at the notion of learning to break in to a car. In a slightly unsettling way, she jumped right in to the mix. After a few near successes, Root then joined the party. When I brought the wooden training sword that Mochello got from our Army friend John out of the bus, I think everyone thought I was set to smash a window. But I had other plans, and my idea allowed us to get the car open. (This isn’t a car jacking tutorial, please forgive my vagueness!)
During all this Nathan was suffering from an upset stomach. Mochello and Root had walked and got him some Pepto, and he climbed into his bunk took a nap. He woke up in time for our set, and I gotta admit, I was nervous that he was going to have a rough time performing. The nap and the medicine helped though, because I saw no sign of illness throughout the performance.
In a spot that is set up with tables the crowd tends to get comfortable in their seats, almost as if they’re watching a tv recording of the show. But, in a atypical way, when Nate called everyone to come closer to the stage, 90% of the people obliged, filling in the dance floor area and making it feel like a rock show and not like an off Broadway musical.
After the show, Stevie G had to get to the airport because he was flying home for a family function. The rest of us set off west, with the city of Denver programmed into the gps.