I already mentioned the Bus Palladium before on this blog. Now I have another mention, and I’ll have to do it fast as I prepare to leave for Valencia, Spain early tomorrow morning. But I HAD to get it up here.
The lesson is the same one I have had so many times since embarking on this musical adventure in November 2008. It is the lesson of taking a chance, changing your habits, going out purposefully on what you think is a proverbial “limb.” Because that is the way to get somewhere you might find fantastically agreeable.
Last night, I had the option of going to the usual Tuesday offerings that I am in the habit of doing; ie, the open mic at either Au Ptit Bonjeur la Chance or the one a Le Baroc. Well, it turns out that I was in a terrible state last night and did not want to go anywhere. So I decided that I would push myself to do something different. The invitation fell into my Facebook, and it came from Cyril Bodin, who organizes soirées and music at Bus Palladium.
It was just a general announcement saying that there were still tables for dinner open at the Bus Palladium‘s restaurant on the first floor where every Tuesday Bodin organizes his After Work evening of a meal and music by musicians on the small stage, mostly cover songs. This is not the large stage on the ground floor made so famous by so many musicians, including the Rolling Stones, as I mentioned before. This is the upper restaurant.
I had glanced in once and seen that it looked like a cool restaurant and was not overly pricey. So I called up and ordered a table for one – with potentially two, as I had a few other people in mind to invite but finally settled for enjoying my own company – and I then called up Bodin and asked him if this was an open mic night. The announcement on Facebook speaks of Cyril Bodin and friends, or something of that sort, providing the music. So I thought there might be a way for me to play.
Bodin, it turned out, did not remember who I am. We had met, I swear it, at the Truskell when I did one of Earle’s open mics, and so I thought this particular faceboook friend was a friend. But it turned out he didn’t know me from the 5,000 other friends he has. Understandable.
He sounded very hesitant, asked if I was a professional musician, etc., and it became clear that this was not at all an open mic. But at the same time he held the door open and said I might be able to do something that it could possibly be arranged.
I hung up and had to weigh things. If it’s not an open mic, I’m a stage crasher. But he said maybe I could play. So maybe I should go. Then I thought, “All right, go have the meal, enjoy yourself, read your magazines and books and have a good glass of wine or two. Take the guitar and see what happens. Don’t invite anyone.”
So that’s what I did. I found a semi-posh restaurant with a simple menu and several tables that were just bursting with people who all seemed to work at the same company, and when I had got to the door I could have sworn they asked if I was with EMI. So perhaps that’s who was dining there. In any case, I ordered a meal and listened to the music.
The meal was fine, though not haute cuisine by any standard. My bass filet was very good, especially the vegetables.
The music was very, very good. A guitar player and singer and a piano player and singer and Cyril who mostly provided backup vocals. They played cover songs, nothing but cover songs, famous ones, “I almost cut my haiiirrrrr.” You know, 60s and early 70s stuff. Very agreeable, and the singer, it turned out, was French, but his accent in English was soo good that I thought he was English.
But as the night progressed and Cyril and his musicians played for more than an hour, I thought there was no chance for me. And I was disappointed because I loved the room and the crowd and I wanted badly to sing, even if I did not think I was perhaps as good as Cyril and his singer.
Then slowly my hopes began to rise. Another singer went up, and he looked like a Cyril “friend.” And then suddenly a group of young guys arrived, looking rather rocky, and after a few minutes they began waving to me. It took my a moment to realize that it was the band “Natas Loves You,” whom I mentioned earlier on this blog. We spoke and they told me they were going to sing shortly, and Cyril approached them and spoke to them, and I realized this really was Cyril and friends.
So I went up to Cyril again and asked if there would be a place for me, and he told me I could play after Natas Loves You. I said “great,” but separately to the band I said, “That doesn’t work in my favor.” They’re so good. You don’t want to follow someone that good. Anyway, they asked me to play a Bob Dylan and a Cat Stevens, as they remembered me doing those and liked it. That pumped up my sense of self-worth, and I said that’s what I had planned on doing anyway.
So they went up, and then I went up and sang my two songs, and as I started the Cat Stevens, “Father and Son,” the piano player of Cyril’s original band, came up and played piano while I did the guitar and vocals. This was now becoming a dynamite situation for me. But I stopped after the two songs, as Cyril had asked only for two. Later he said I could have done more, and the same was said to me by a couple of friends, Celine and Marion, who had shown up and listened and encouraged me as usual.
I received some nice warm applause and a diner at the table next to mine later congratulated me on a great performance.
So, well, there’s the lesson. I was just floating with happiness and excitement and release as I played in the famous Bus Palladium, and I never believed at the beginning when I set out on the empty evening that I would have such a chance. But I pursued the goal and achieved it. So that’s the lesson. Just go for it, do it and attack. Take risks and try new stuff and don’t get caught in life-denying habits. Jeez, and I thought this was supposed to be a short post!!!!
My only regret was that I forgot to take my Zoom Q3 with me, so had to make due with the iPhone for videos. I like the one I did with Natas Loves You singing a Beatles song while I checked out the bathroom with its bathtub handwashing bowl and the music from the restaurant piped in.
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