It’s always been a good place for me. Gilly’s has just got this special vibe to it. Jerry, the owner, is one of my faves’ in the nation and when he talks the history of the acts he’s handled and performed in his club it’s like listening to the real thing. From Chet Baker to Chick Corea to legends of Jazz, they have all stood on that stage there and played. It’s a tremendous feeling I get every time I come here.
So we arrive and load in and Jerry meets us outside in the back by the load-in door. This used to be a bus station, a Greyhound bus station back when I started to play here but now it’s abandoned and Gilly’s is pretty much the last thing standing in the complex. This is downtown Dayton we’re talking about too. Still a fine town even though it’s been a bit of a slog for the city to get out of the economically depressed state that visited this area but they’re on their way back.
This room sounds great and the sound man has dialed us in very nicely and so we’re ready to go. Yoshi is proving himself to be quick on his musical feet. He adjusts his playing and styles if he hears he’s a bit out of place. He’s deft at his craft. We whip into our usual set list and then for tonight I have chosen some songs from the vault that we haven’t played yet so we can get this song under his fingers and mine too. There are some tours where I’ve worked up some songs that were incredibly detailed and ambitious and played them dozens of times. We take a break and somehow those songs don’t make it onto the set list over a period of time and when they finally make an appearance I quickly find out how much the songs have faded in my ability to execute them. Then I have to spend time in the hotels before my gigs working diligently relearning those very same songs that were so familiar to me. I watched a video post of Ritchie Kotzen and Billy Sheehan relating this exact experience; going through the motions of relearning songs they knew so well. I knew I was normal at this point when those guys were talking about it. Sometimes it helps to get perspective from another source you thought were far from having these problems.
I’m getting around pretty good and I hear myself fine on stage and that’s always a good thing for me. With the high ceiling and high stage in Gilly’s it gives the music its own natural reverb. It’s a really nice addition to our occasional atmospheric excursions. My second gigs are pretty much always fun because my fingers are starting to work. We finish up with a flurry and the crowd is happy and we load up and have a quick chat with Jerry’s brother who handles the biz at the end of the night. I convey my gratitude that I get to play here and hope that our relationship continues. Dayton always lives in me.