Yesterday was the very first show for the Rhiannon Giddens solo tour. We had a great time, but it was just the initial payoff for months worth of work.
Everyone has been practicing and honing the new material since we set the arrangements back in January. We had a day of rehearsal before our appearances on Letterman and Prairie Home Companion back in February. And in the week leading up to our debut performance at the Big Ears Music Festival in Knoxville, we did days of playing with full lights and sound in Nashville.
So, when we showed up at the venue to load in yesterday, we were champing at bit to get going. But, as any of you who’ve ever worked at a festival will know, nothing ever goes exactly as planned.
We were scheduled first to play for that day’s music at the Bijou Theatre; but it’s fairly typical to have the group that closes out the night to set up first. Said band had a very complex stage setup, so they we’rent done by the time we got there. In fact, they were still sound checking until about fifteen minutes before our set was supposed to start. But that’s were all of our hard work came in.
Our Tour Manager and general Man-At-Arms, Chris Serino, sprang to action setting up around the other band while Mikey Cummings, our Lighting Director, got his gear up and running. We all set up our instruments as quickly as we could, while Laurelyn Dosset helped Rhiannon get dressed. Ashley Henry ran around doing general problem solving once she finished her duties as Merchandise Manager.
All told, we started about fifteen minutes late. But we were relaxed. We had a great time. And we played well. None of the delays mattered. Our team was ready and we did our jobs. No show is ever perfect, but this was a great start.