First, a word of warning: The following blog post is far, far, far too long. But I had more than an hour to kill in the back seat of a taxi during a manic drive up the emergency lanes and down the soft shoulders of the off ramps from downtown Shanghai to the Formula One circuit. So my pen went wild – or rather my fingers, my verbal diahorea – and I just spewed out every thought that came into my head.
The Executive Summary would read this way: Went back to Oscar’s Pub and got a chance in a lifetime to play as a quartet with Paul Meredith and Tom & Jerry from Inner Mongolia. Tom played mandolin and violin and Jerry played banjo. Paul played guitar and sang, and I played guitar and sang. We did some of their songs and some of the ones that I usually do. I had the time of my life playing a full set of probably 40 minutes with this trio at one of Shanghai’s best known, best loved, expat bars – with a Chinese touch.
My only regret was that I did not record any videos of me playing with the band. On the other hand, Paul has invited me back again tonight to play with the band, and I will probably take up that offer, and make some videos.
In the meantime, I’m putting in three videos below to show the range of what unlikely and unusual and cool band does. Beneath the three videos the nut cases among you – like me – will want to read my more than 2000 word report written during the mad taxi ride to distract myself from the fast-moving, ever dangerous, fear-inducing scenery unfolding outside the windows of the run-away cab. (By the way, in the second video, a member of the pub crowd got up to sing with Paul & the Mongolians – showing the casual nature of this set at Oscar’s.)
And here is the far too long post that I wrote in the cab, and which really belongs in the book section of this blog, but which will just be a “bonus” of this post: