So the Caldera Tap House was a beautiful disaster. I got there around 8pm to play a show from 9-12 and introduced myself to the bartender. She handed me a menu and said I could have anything that they serve, so I got a huge burger with bacon and steak fries and tried out some beers I’d never had before. The Tap House is an extension of the Caldera Brewing Company, so they had more than twenty beers on tap and full descriptions of each of them. I started with an amber ale to wash down the burger and then progressively moved to darker beers throughout the night. At one point I had a beer that tasted like smoke, which was pretty amazing.. it was like drinking a campfire. When I finished eating I got out the guitar and everything, and decided to play entirely acoustic. The room was pretty small, and I’m used to projecting from busking on the streets, so I didn’t think it’d be an issue. When I started there were only about fifteen people there, but I suppose I underestimated the power of alcohol and the effects that it can have on volume. I ended up belting over the sounds of the crowd and strumming a little harder than I usually do, and after about ten songs I broke a string. The crowd had multiplied, and one of the waitresses came over and recommended that I use the PA system to make things a little louder. So I took an early set break, changed the string and set up the house PA, which was hiding in the corner. Only thing is that it was missing certain elements like speaker cables and a mic stand, so I ran out to the van and used some of my stuff to put it together. I got it working and then went back to playing with a fresh D string, and as luck would have it I broke another string within three songs. So I apologized and went about looking for a replacement, but I didn’t have it. I spent a couple minutes shuffling through all the strings that I have, spreading them out on the stage looking for the one that I needed. I had broken a G string, and all I had was another D string to replace it, so I put it on the guitar anyway. Unfortunately, just as it was almost tuned, the string snapped and I was SOL. It just wasn’t meant to be pulled so tightly. So I bolted to the van and grabbed the classical guitar that I got in Denver and finished the show with that. The Dean Markley pickup wouldn’t fit into the hole on the smaller guitar, so I couldn’t amplify it except through the mic. So instead I pulled up a stool and placed the microphone so that it was facing down towards the guitar and then crouched over to sing through it as well. It was a little awkward, and the nylon strings were far quieter than my guitar had been in the first place, but I wasn’t about to just stop halfway through the show. But I did have a microphone, and whatever I may have lacked in volume I tried to make up for with enthusiasm. And people kept piling into the bar, which was awesome. By the time the end of the night came, people were singing along with classic rock songs from the Band, The Troggs and Bob Dylan, and I ended up playing until about 12:30. My tip jar looked like it had about ten or fifteen bucks in it, and I thought that was all I was getting paid for this show, plus the free meal and drinks. But as it turned out one of the waitresses had collected a small cover from people as they came in the door, and she handed me 70 bucks while I was cleaning up. I was pretty stoked, to say the least. I went outside with the bartender for a couple minutes, and when we came back in Pink Floyd was blaring over the speakers, and I knew I had played at the right bar. I ended up going out to a nearby bar with the bartender and the other girls who had been working all evening, and we closed it down proper. I was already pretty toasted when we left the Tap House, so I tried to take it easy, but somehow jello shots made it to the table. When the bar closed down, we walked back from whence we had come and after a series of bear hugs, we all went our separate ways. I went to the Holiday Inn parking lot and passed out heavily.
When I pulled into the lot I was surprised that there were so many cars. There were only two or three open spots in the whole parking lot, so I squeezed into one and then slept like a bear. When I woke up in the morning, most of the cars around me had already packed up and left. I checked the time, and it was quarter after ten, so I put tow and two together and figured that would leave plenty of unoccupied rooms in the hotel that the maids hadn’t gotten to yet. I got dressed and packed up everything that I would need for a shower, and then walked in the front entrance like I owned the place. I didn’t get a funny look from anybody, and sure enough I found an empty room with an unlocked door at the end of the hallway. I hesitantly knocked on the door as I walked in, introducing myself as “housekeeping,” in case there was someone in there. But the room was empty- it was a mess, but it was empty. So I locked the door and took a long hot shower to start out the morning and attempt to wash away a hangover. Afterwards I gathered my things and walked out; I was at the end of the hallway by a side entrance, so I just walked outside and back around to the van. Mission accomplished.
Next mission: food. I stopped at Wendy’s for some greasy fries to help combat the alcohol and ordered a “tall water” to go with it. Then I went to go pick up some new guitar strings at a local music shop, and then stopped at a laundromat to get everything fresh and clean again. After that I went to charge up the computer again, and once charged I went looking for another parking spot and crashed early. I changed out my guitar strings first, but I was pretty exhausted, and sleep was the right kind of medicine.