Monday, October 20, 2008

Beatles in the Sky With Bananas

Captain B performs Lennon-McCartney
songs at wedding 2 feet from asparagus,
roasted red peppers, bruschetta

"She loves you" was written in the back of a van; most of the early Beatles material was written in an equal hurry under whatever circumstances.

And there I was, 45 years later, playing S.L.Y. and dozens of other Fab songs on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center for a wedding cocktail reception gig.

Photo credit: Josh Max
Got the call Thursday; "Beatles, 90 minutes, no singing, black suit, can you do it?" Sure.

I busted out my 1968 Gibson ES-335 to do the set.

A few things:

*There is something vaguely sad about a big wedding. It's a beginning but it's also an end, and you know a great deal of the people there were arguing right before they left the house to get there, and why didn't you put gas in the car this morning instead of waiting until we were on our way and I f---king hate midtown at rush hour and what do you mean 40 dollars to park my car. That said, this was a well-behaved bunch of bananas, and...

*A person in a black suit playing an instrument at a wedding is the same as the grilled shrimp, bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms and penne. The only people who look you in the eye and appreciate the wonder of being able to put your hands on a piece of wood with strings and make something called music are children. Otherwise, you are there for consumption and there isn't anything wrong with that. It also allows you to observe people without being observed, like a painting with eyes.

*People in their 60s will walk by and listen intently to a simple song like "From Me To You", mouthing the words without even being conscious of it---so ingrained in that generation's brains is this material---and you will reach them whether they know it or not.

*When someone requests all Beatles, that means you can play "Within You, Without You" if you wish, and I did.

*The bride and groom, who most likely requested the all-Beatles set list, did not appear and thus it probably wouldn't have made a scrap of difference to the crowd if "I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" was substituted for "I'll Get You."

*I always want Clemenza, Tessio, Kay, Sonny, Lucy, Mama Corleone, Fredo, Johnny Fontane, Paulie Gatto, Michael, Kay, Vito and Luca Brasi at every wedding I go to.

Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures(c)

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