Boy was that weekend biker gig a complete disaster. Like a horrible combination of Woodstock and Altamont. There was already lightning in the distance when we got the order to set up. I protested that we should wait and see what the weather was gonna do, but no one would listen to reason and we got everything out and up onto the make-shift stage. The bikers were already drunk and several monsters were beyond disorderly. We plugged in and launched into the opening, just thunderously loud, the loaded biker chicks hollerin and diggin the fury as the crowd pressed up hard and too close.
We made the mistake of giving them a blistering version of Gimme Three Steps and the proceedings were becoming dangerously close to out of control. The confusion made it impossible to hear anything and whatever we played was a mixture of ugly animal swaggering and raw flying on autopilot.
Suddenly the heavens exploded and the downpour began, the rain slashing in at us from an almost sideways blast. Everyone and everything was completely soaked within several seconds. I switched off the Marshall immediately but Tommy wanted to continue until Tainge sounded the alarm that the stage was collapsing under the onslaught. The next several minutes were almost terrifying chaos. The PA was switched off, and several giant bikers angrily commandeered the stage, demanding that we continue, as we tried to maneuver around them, some of us trying to cover the gear with tarps and the rest of us desperately carrying stuff off the stage into ankle deep muddy water and into the relative safety of the vans.
Tainge tried to calm the behemoths down as me and Mike struggled against the elements, the wind whipping violently at us, blowing the tarps off, the lightning close and frighteningly loud. I fell off the stage and wrenched the living fuck out of my knee, pitching Mike's snare and my Telecaster head first into the mud.
Lots of other more peaceful bikers jumped into the fray and helped disassemble the equipment. Finally we got whatever we could off and into the vans, crawled into the seats and locked the doors, passing the bottle to calm our nerves. The rain continued for at least an hour and finally discouraged the bikers' wrath.
Everything is now back in our shed, drying out. Mike took all the heads off the drums and I stripped down the Tele and cleaned it all up. We'll crank it all up in a couple of days and assess the damage. What a way to make a buck.
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