Monday, June 2, 2014

Darling Nikki

78 Dollar Saturday
It's 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
I played from right after sundown until 2:30 a.m.
It was a pretty magical night. If I hadn't made about 55 bucks, I probably would have termed it a
"weird night." but...
I got to the Lilly spot when it was about an hour before sundown.
Soon, a group showed up, consisting of two females, one black, one Hispanic, who preceded the third member, a young black guy who leaned toward the gay side, but didn't show up with them; he was leaning somewhere else.
The Hispanic girl stood by me, not seeming too interested.
I was taking a cigarette break.
I decided to improvise a song called "Do You Know How Hard It Is To Sing With A Cigarette In Your Mouth?" which I sang with the butt in my mouth and tried to muffle the lyrics of, in keeping with the theme; and it got a smile from her.
Soon, I was playing songs that I thought she would know; and she was singing most of them.
The young black guy soon showed up and somehow I mentioned something which reminded him of Prince and soon thereafter, we were performing "Darling Nikki," off of the Purple Rain soundtrack, the cassette of which was stuck in my Pioneer Supertuner in my 1984 Dodge Colt Turbo, just about the whole summer of '84 (it wouldn't eject; though, I could have taken the thing out of the dashboard an pried it out somehow; but; I kind of liked it).
I can honestly say that I have heard Prince' "Purple Rain" 1,000 times. I drove around a lot that summer, and, as soon as I turned the key....."I knew a girl named Nikki. I guess you could say she was a sex fiend.." would pick up right where it stopped when I shut the car off.
This particular group, and especially the guy who was a huge Prince fan were amazed at how well I could sing every intricate harmony in "Darling Nikki," as it was.
It was just one of those moments that could have been scripted. When I was a 22 year old, driving around Massachusetts, singing along with that album; could I have possibly foreseen that I would be a 51 year old, regurgitating it (no offense to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince) on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, for a 9 dollar tip, as that was what ultimately materialized. It was a small tip, in the Grand Scheme of things, but, they weren't rich; and so it was like the lady in the bible who gave more than the rich people, in effect.
Well, then, the evening proceeded; I had large groups of tourists saying either "Play something we can dance to," or "Play something we can sing."
I tried both.
I had a group of about 10 singing "Hey Jude," at one point.
The 2 American girls, who were hosting these foreigners from where, I never asked; asked me to play something they could sing. I started into Hey Jude.
A brief look of consternation came over her face before she turned to them and asked "Do you know this one?"
It evaporated as all 9 of them jumped right in and sang along.
I was doing my job.
They loved it and probably threw about 30 dollars (it came from every direction while the song was in progress) before the song was over.
That was one of the highlights of the night; upon which I drank and smoked weed; but not too much.
When I finally started packing up, a young lady, who had been dancing with her boyfriend for about the last 2 hours of my night, came and almost begged me not to stop.
Having them there, dancing, at first made me think that they were kind of blocking my tip jar and that I wouldn't make anything; but, I resolved to think that them dancing was not something which would hinder anybody from approaching the sharks. I thought about Tanya and Dorise, and how people dancing and (trying, usually to be) singing along with them didn't seem to stem the flow of tips, and I resolved to just try to play like them..
I was able to make some money with them slow dancing; and even tailored my set list to them; playing all of the slow dance songs that I knew. "Something," by The Beatles, for example.

1 comment:

alex carter said...

You neglected to mention whether this $78 day was achieved sober or shitfaced drunk..... that's valuable data you know.