A lovely day at the zoo was had by all. We relaxed in the shade, admired the animals (my favorite being the ostrich), drank some wine and prepared for the sold-out show. Things got off to a good start when I was the first to step backstage and discover a jar of Marcona Almonds. Living too close to a Whole Foods, I’m familiar with the street value of these nuts and quickly pounded half the jar before putting the remainder in my bag. Long ago, I’d signed off on Clif Bars but found the Apricot ones in our trailer to be quite enjoyable. I washed it all down with an Odwalla C Monster and began my pre-show pilates. With a belly full of high-dollar snacks we mounted the stage, sun in our eyes, and looked out over a sea of confused picknicking families, revelers in the beer garden with no chance of hearing a decent mix, and seagulls swarming overhead. It was then that I realized the Zoo might be more appropriate for a Dave Koz and Brian Culbertson gig.
All things considered, we played a pretty good set and the crowd gave us a very enthusiastic response in the end. I thought “Are you sure Hank done it this way” was particularly on fire.
Our friend, who was hanging in the beer/wine garden throughout the show, said she heard lots of complaints about the sound quality. For those of you there last night, let me explain. So as not to frighten the animals, the zoo maintains a very strict noise policy. During soundcheck, I was never permitted to strike a single drum without the whole band playing. This makes it difficult to fine tune the sound beforehand. Additionally, the band must play below 90 decibels. 90 db’s is about the level of a loud scream. Therefore, most of what was going through the PA were vocals and drums with little or no guitars making it impossible to create an even mix of the band. So, for example, if you were sitting way to the right of the stage chances are you couldn’t hear a lot of Chris’ guitar. Additionally, the PA was lacking in low-end power which would explain the harsh sound to the sides and back of the field where bass frequencies were lost. Overall, the PA was too weak for the amount of people they put in the meadow. At least for a rock band.