We were on stage. The crowd was a few feet away. Time to live the rock 'n roll fantasy.
“We are the Lava Pups.” Applause and cheers. A step back and I teetered as I bumped against Robert’s amp. Holy smokes! Was I going to fall off the stage? That would be rather auspicious -- and lame. After catching my balance, I started the chords to introduce Mr. Moto. Applause and cheers.
Even though Rikki had run through the set with us only once, she came in right on time. Rikki, Sue, and Robert meshed. They were locked in. One of the guys who had been leaning against the stage started dancing. The people in front of the stage were moving with the music. Heads were bobbing. Cha, cha, cha! We crushed Mr. Moto. Applause and cheers.
“Thank you!” Step back. Teeter. Catch balance. “We released a CD last year. Here’s a song from that CD.” Whammy chords into Sea Witch. Wow! More dancing. More moving with the music. More heads bobbing. The audience was so close and having fun. The expressions on their faces made that clear. The ending of Sea Witch fooled the audience as they started to applaud, we would play some more, they started again, and we played some more. Cha, cha, cha! They got this ending. Applause, cheers, and whistles.
The crowd, the spot lights over the stage, and the excitement were generating heat. I was sweating. No nervousness. No fear. This was genuine fun sweat.
We plowed through the set. The audience swayed to our slow songs. They sang along with Runaway. After I introduced the band, Robert implored the crowd. And they shouted, “Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!” Maybe this was a dream.
“Dick Dale is coming up. This is going to be a party. What kind of party?” Surf Party! We featured Rikki on the song with drum solo. The audience was rocking out. I was sweating more. After Squad Car, I leaned into the mic. “It’s really hot in here.” I unbuttoned my shirt and threw it open to reveal a Dick Dale tee. “Look here. I’ve got Dick Dale on my chest.”
We and the audience were totally together for our Link Wray medley. I turned to Rikki, and we galloped towards the ending. Faster. Faster. She mouthed, “Faster?” I nodded, “Yes.” Faster. Faster. Jazzmaster raised. Chord. Boom from the bass drum! And our set was done.
Applause. Cheers. Whistles. Genuine appreciation. Everybody whom we could see had had fun. Our immediate task was to get our equipment off stage and out of the way for the main event. The crowd was primed. The King of the Surf Guitar and guitar legend, Dick Dale, was next.
As we carried our equipment off the stage, audience members came up and told us how much they had enjoyed us. Some shook our hands. Others asked if we had our CD there. Dusty congratulated us. Friends and family were really excited by our show.
After saying how much he enjoyed our performance, Ivan of the Rockabilly Love Cats said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you sweat when you play.”
When doing something you have dreamed about, you had better to give it your all. It may be your only chance.