Even though we shouldn’t be, we kinda’ always are… surprised.
“Why, Pilot Error?” you ask. “Why are you surprised?”
“Rest easy, child” we say. “Let us tell you.”
Pilot Error opens a worn, yet somehow-comforting book, and that is how we open the “Tale of the Event Coordinator.”
“Private gigs” tend to evoke images of stuffy, over-dressed, disinterested people looking at their watches while waiting in line for a tiny plate of meatballs and artichoke dip, while the comforting smell of burning sterno wafts through the air. (We’ve all been in that line!)
But when we have been booked as the entertainment, NOT SO! Not in the least. The stuffiest of events always end up being a party. But chances are if you’re reading this, you already know, right? That’s not what surprises us.
Here’s what (pleasantly) surprises us:
The Coordinator, who was responsible for hiring us, has a few (sometimes quite a few) moments of self-doubt.
The Coordinator, our tale’s protagonist, comes down with the “pre-event jitters.”
We admit… right about the first two seconds of soundcheck, long-before the audience files in, our protagonist, The Coordinator, gets a face-full of “Blue Collar Man” and a little television-static invades our hero’s visions of “pulling off the ultimate event.”
The Coordinator gets a little nervous when it is obvious the rock show has arrived. Our hero presumably saw us live one crazed, wild, and amazing cocktail-filled night and when The Boss said “let’s book a band for the event this year,” The Coordinator rolled the dice on hiring Pilot Error versus a string quartet or jazz duo.
As our hero watches soundcheck, Troy tunes his snare… and a spasm-inducing “CRACK!” reverberates through the empty venue. The coordinator flinches, and feels a slowly-tightening stomach knot forming.
Walt thumps out a few bass notes… and The Coordinator’s stomach knot releases a host of tension-filled butterflies, which are themselves shocked and frightened by the low-end rumble of Hades itelf.
Roger cranks his amp to achieve ultimate tone, strikes a chord… and now the string-quartet-loving butterflies evacuate the stomach, forming a tight, frightened lump in The Coordinator’s throat.
Ray momentarily tricks the butterflies back down into The Coordinator’s tummy with the soothing sounds of piano… then cranks the in-your-face grind of a distorted, tube-driven, Hammond B3 organ and has our hero’s butterflies fleeing right past our hero’s throat, out the door with little butterfly middle-fingers firmly in the air, and out to the curb to hail a cab for the nearest wine-only bar featuring a quiet jazz duo.
Derek watches as The Coordinator, now even abandoned of butterflies, shifts nervously in-place, very alone and slightly trembling.
As soundcheck continues, The Coordinator’s desperation grows. Our hero flirts with disaster as the unmanned but fully-stocked bar calls, beckons, teases from across the room with deceptive temptation and the false lure of blackout-drunk escape. The Coordinator’s eye’s close as lips move in a silent prayer…
“I’m frightened for The Coordinator,” you say.
“Don’t worry, little one,” Pilot Error replies. “No tale is worth telling without the protagonist facing moments of doubt, right? There is no good story without danger! Without a challenge!”
The Coordinator has seen Pilot Error before, maybe more than once. The Coordinator had a blast. What club was it? The Coordinator isn’t sure. Our hero may have had some memory loss after the fifth Jager shot, but somehow remembered two things: 1) It was an EPIC night, and 2) “Pilot-Error-dot-NET!” And when it came time to book a band, hiring us seemed like a good idea at the time. “On no… what have I done?” our hero asks.
As the coordinator begins to regret the earlier decision not to escape into blackout drunkenness – the lights go down, tension mounts as intro music swells, then Pilot Error hits the stage… and just launches.
Every time… about 30-seconds into the first song, it never fails, The Coordinator sees the folks in the meatball line turn their heads to the stage, mid-chew, in a pleasantly-surprised “Whoa!”
And then magic happens. For our hero, The Coordinator, and for your band, Pilot Error. The first brave soul kicks off her high heels, or takes of his jacket, and hits the dance floor. And then another. And another. The flood gates are opened. No one can stop it at that point. It is beginning. It is… inevitable.
The Coordinator first notices no one is checking watches anymore. People are swarming the stage. People are singing. Neckties loosen. Hair comes down. Drinks are flowing and people appear to be… partying?
Our hero’s heart quickens. “Could it be? Is everything going to be okay?”
A sideways glance at The Boss… oh my! The Boss is… on-stage SINGING with the band?!
It’s all happening too fast – The Coordinator can’t make sense of it.
In The Coordinator’s peripheral vision a door opens and a group of late-comers appears to file in, but the coordinator is too engaged with what is happening. The band… the crowd… the sounds… the lights…
And now… What?! What’s that?! Our hero can’t tell through the chaos, but it appears the late-comers briefly hit the bar and are now actually moving to the dance floor and escalating the frenzy.
The Coordinator says in wonder as realization finally hits “Those are my butterflies! They came back?! Did someone text them to come back? Because this has turned into a PARTY!”
Yes. Yes it has. The Coordinator’s private event has turned into a party. And all those fearful sounds our hero heard at soundcheck are now a sweetly-sustained crescendo of dance-inducing, crowd-singing, boss-pleasing, butterfly-soothing, beautiful rock-n-roll music.
By the fourth song, now out of relief instead of fear, The Coordinator hits the bar and orders a triple.
By the fifth song The Coordinator is on the dance floor. Worries forgotten.
By the twentieth song The Coordinator doesn’t even notice one of the butterflies making a silent exit with Bill from Accounting.
The Coordinator has pushed through the challenge, and with Pilot Error’s help, has succeeded.
“I’ve done it!” our hero says silently, while singing along loudly.
A little while later, The Boss catches our hero’s eye through the dancing crowd, smiles, and throws up a pair of rock-in-roll hands. “Well done,” The Boss’s gesture says. “Well done.”
“So you see, child, nothing to fear! The Coordinator was right, all along.” Pilot Error says. “That is the end of our tale. What did you learn?”
“Nothing I didn’t already know,” you say. “Nothing I didn’t already know.”
Smiling, Pilot Error closes the book… and we hit the bar.
** A huge Pilot Error pair of “Rock n’ Roll Hands” to ALL the event coordinators we’ve worked with, many of you repeatedly. THANK YOU for having faith in us! Can’t wait to play for you again.**
Ray, Troy, Derek, Walt, and Roger