La Salle, Illinois is a little bit off the beaten path but the town does harken back the early days of CDG when we used to play Peru, IL. In fact the soundman that would work the board was this pleasant English fellow and we always had a nice time talking with him. Oh lull me into a dreamy state with your lovely London patois….Well anyway we came the next time in Peru Ill., and it was Gary again at the board. Gary is the Englishman’s name. So we’re on a break and I’m talking with the bartender and she tells me, “you know, Gary is in a band too, you should hear them’. Oh really? I asked, what’s the name of his band? “Gentle Giant.” …………………………………………………………………………………………………… I quickly turn my head around and I look at Gary and immediately in my mind I start to compare him with the photos of Gary Greene on my many Gentle Giant records I have at home. I am a big Gentle Giant fan and I saw them play at the Armadillo in Austin back in the 80’s. Incredible Prog-rock band. I confirm in my head. – ‘That’s Gary Greene!’ and I’ve been treating him like a soundman the past two times we’ve played here in Peru, I calmly but nervously walk over to him and promptly lose my demeanor when I get to him, “You’re Gary Greene of Gentle Giant!” I shout at him and I prostrate before him. It was pathetic. I totally lost it. He was gracious and handled the whole embarrassing scene with aplomb and kindness and lifted me up off the floor by my armpits and told me to get a hold of myself. So I dried my eyes and I had him sign my ‘Patterns for Jazz’ workbook I used to always carry around. I still have that autograph to this day.
So why the memory recall, La Salle is right next to Peru, IL and everybody there knows Gary. He married a woman from the area and he hasn’t left. But we’re there to play at the Haze Smokehouse. A new restaurant there in La Salle and the BBQ is fantastic as is the sides too. After we chowed down on the offerings we set up our stuff on the outside stage and do a quick sound check then clear the stage for the opening band. The outside patio area was comfortably full and the audience was ready for us. We had a lot of fun at this show and the people couldn’t have been nicer and more accommodating. The gig was a whole lot of fun.
I hope we get to come back. Rock on!