Up at 6am on Friday morning. The boss and Frankie turned up in the people carrier at 8am. Mark (bassist) was on time, Nicki (sax) was late....then realised she had forgotten her passport. After a small detour to retrieve aforementioned passport, we headed for the chunnel. We arrived at the terminal at about 10.30am. Delays abounded and it was 2.20pm before we actually embarked. Through the tunnel and then Martin (drums and our leader) drove solidly for some four hours to get us to the venue, which was a farmhouse somewhere on the Le Mans circuit, where we had just enough time to set up, change, and eat, before we went onstage. Three songs into the first set my amp blew up.
Now as an aside, my Fender Blues Deluxe, though a wonderful sounding beast, ain't exactly the most reliable amp I've ever owned, but it is a damn sight more portable than either my Marshall half-stack or even my blackface 'twin'.
So I called the soundguy over and asked him if he had a direct box, into which I plugged my Digitech GNX3, and used one of the stage monitors as a surrogate amp. It took less than a verse and a chorus to reconfigure and get a proper sound together. Good job from the soundman.
Difficult gig, and not because of blown amp. Too many chaps of a certain age not interested in dancing at all: which rather makes a dance band redundant. However, by the end of the second set we managed to get a few of them moving, so all not lost there.
We got offstage by midnight, local time, and packed up and then started drinking.
All stayed in different B & B's in local villages, then back to the farmhouse for breakfast the next morning. We left to try to reach the tunnel for 3.30pm. Back home by Saturday evening.
So, today I picked up the Fender Blues Deluxe from the soundman and took it to Dickinson Amplification, in Crystal Palace. Now I knew Jon Dickinson when he worked in Tin Pan Alley, so we bantered a bit about old chums and then I asked about the possibility of customising the Blues Deluxe. We looked at various options, including a hand rebuild on a point-to-point hand-wired board. Then I tried a single channel, volume knob only, 45W 2x12 he had built some weeks ago as a prototype.
The upshot of all this is I've got him to fix the Blues Deluxe, and I've got to try to persuade SWMBO that we have enough room to store the 2x12. Now I'm going to get myself a new floorpod from Line6, and I'm rather hoping that set-up will be pretty bulletproof. Fingers crossed.