More Capitol Bowl: Yes, Indeed, The Bird Is The Word!

We finished Penetration.  “Thank you.”  Applause.  We then launched into Surf Rider.  This was familiar territory as we have started every gig with those two songs.  Nonetheless, the nerves came back but were ratcheted down by the internal voice, “Fun is the key.” 

Then somebody from the crowd shouted, “Smile!”   Huh?  Why was countenance being brought up so early in the afternoon?  Was this a multi-tasking test?  I thought, “Screw it.  Just play on.”  And I did.

I looked at the set list taped to the floor at my feet.  We were at the point to mention some items that were written in a Sharpie so that I would not forget. 

“We want to thank the Capitol Bowl for letting us play here today.  Make sure that you eat and drink.  Chef Nathan is in the kitchen.  He made the pastrami right here.  By the way, if you like surf music, a Sierra Surf Music Camp will be held over Memorial Day.  You can pick up a flier during the break.” 

I thus was done pimping the items jotted down in oversized Sharpie print.  “Now, we would like to slow things down with a couple of songs that are so old that they were popular when I was young.”  Laughter.  I started Last Date, the first of the new (to us) songs.  We joined it with Sleepwalk for a medley.

The afternoon at the Capitol Bowl was turning out to be fun.  The audience was keeping up.  We were doing our schtick.  Paul was energetic, engaging, and grinning.  I was the straightman while managing a joke here and there.  We were playing like a real band.  When I missed my opening line in Pipeline, we exchanged looks.  Paul and Don held on a little longer so that I could play that opening line.

We were coming towards the end of the first set.  Miserlou - another new (to us) song.  Paul played the lead.  He nodded, and I played the lead.  We looked at each other and then played the lead together 2 octaves apart.  As Paul and I faced each other, he counted down to the ending.  We hit it!  Nobody could know that this was only the second time that we had done the song as a band.

“Wella.  Wella.  Everybody’s heard about the bird. . . .”  Surfin’ Bird was going to end the first set.  Folks in the audience were singing along.  Yes, they knew that the Bird is the word. 

“Blaaaaugh . . . . Surfin’ Bird!”  Paul soloed.  “That’s Paul the Pyronaut on guitar!”  Applause.  “Wella.  Wella.”  And I was singing -- that is subject to debate -- again. 

“Blaaaaugh . . . . Surfin’ Bird!”  Glenn did some kind of rat-tat-tat on the drums, and Don soloed.  The transition was a bit ragged.  Maybe our not practicing it at all had something to do with that.  As Don soloed, I thought that he needed a boost pedal or I needed to remove my ear plugs.  “Don ‘Jet Blue’ Bazinet on bass!”  Applause.  “Pa Papa Papa.”  The singing resumed.  The audience was singing again.  "Uhm mau mau . . . ."

“Blaaaaugh . . . . Surfin’ Bird!”  Glenn did his rat-tat-tat again followed by a drum solo.  “That was G.K. - not Gene Krupa but Glenn Kohlmeister -- on drums.”  Applause.  “Wella. Wella.”  The audience started singing along . . . again.

“Blaaaaugh . . . . Surfin’ Bird!”  Applause.  “Thank you.  We are The Lava Pups.  We’re going to take a break.  Eat.  Drink.  Bowl.  Thank you.”  More applause.  We put down our instruments, and Glenn got out from behind the drums.  Then I remembered something else.  “Oh yeah, here’s a tip jar.  We need gas money to get home!  Thank you.”

As I walked towards the bar, the reviews already were coming in.  They were mixed on Surfin' Bird.  “Great set, but I would lose the singing!”  “That was fun!  You guys need to work on that last song.”  “I was expecting you to start doing the bird dance.”  Then, I got a thumbs up accompanied by “the Bird is the word” from some stranger sitting at the bar.

Hey, nobody can say that the Lava Pups do not take risks.

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