The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46244   Message #2947815
Posted By: Don Firth
19-Jul-10 - 03:28 PM
Thread Name: Worst performance I've ever seen.
Subject: RE: Worst performance I've ever seen.
Oh, I've seen some doozies!

One really painful performance I attended was with Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem. They weren't the problem;   in fact, they gave a terrific, entertaining performance. But—the PA system, which this theater didn't really need, was turned up so loud that I damn near walked out just to save my ears! But I stuck it out (not everybody did), and my ears rang for three days!

What the hell is with that!??

This wasn't a "performance" as such. Not on stage or in a club or coffeehouse. It was at a song fest ("hoot") back in the very early 1960s.

Now, I do sing Greensleeves. I do about three verses of it. That adequately tells what's going on (he's trying to buy her and she's not selling), and then enough is enough. But—there was this guy who could play fairly good guitar and he had a pretty decent voice. And he had professional aspirations. But he sang all 793 verses of the bloody thing!!! And not only that, he got positively operatic about it:   putting all kinds of agonized expression into his voice, moaning, whining, weeping!

At first, I thought I was gonna DIE! And then I started thinking, "Take me now, Lord!"

In 1961, I sang at a multi-performer concert with some local singers, along with a couple of singers from out of town. One of the visiting singers considered all of us local singers to be rank amateurs, whereas he fancied himself a real pro. He was pretty good, but there were locals on the program who were easily as good as he was, and some a lot better.

I was scheduled to finish the program, and the last song in my set was Sinner Man. I "build" on the song, singing the last two verses in a high harmony, really belting it. Big finish! Guaranteed ovation at the end!

This gink sneaked a peek at the set-list taped to the side of my guitar, and sang a couple of songs that I had planned to sing—which is to say, he tried to swipe my program. And damned if he didn't wind up his set with Sinner Man! His rendition was downright wimpy—really blah! So I had to make some quick, last-minute changes in my program.

Afterwards, someone from the audience told me that he had heard me sing Sinner Man a number of times and, "compared to yours, that guy's 'Sinner Man' was only guilty of a minor misdemeanor!"

Don Firth