Navigation for 50's Rock and Roll
Sunday Feb 16 1958
We all started at Don's house where we dressed, received our last minute instructions, packed up the cars with all our gear and headed off to the theater. Mary Gates had gotten us red rose boutonnieres... Looking sharp.
We drove up in back of the theater and unloaded our stuff back stage while the movie was going on . Trying to be quiet and contain our excitement was next to impossible. The movie screen was huge and it was unbelievable that you could see right through it because of the tiny holes in it. We kept trying to see how many people were out there. Oh well, we would find out soon enough. It was good that we did have that rehearsal because it made us a little more confident.
Finally the time had come. The 1st movie was over and the house lights came up. We could hear the announcer come on the mike and that was our cue to start moving our equipment on stage. I could hear people noises as we started out. WOW, the house was packed! Oh man! Now I was starting to get nervous. After the announcement there was a big cheer from the crowd and we rushed to get set up.
Kawecki stepped up to the mike and introduced the band. He was good at that. After a few tune up noises we were off and running. I can't for the life me remember the opening number but with a big theater and a live audience man oh man it was happening. I thought we sounded good and after the number was over we had confirmation from the crowd they thought we were great. The audience was cheering, yelling, clapping and shouting "more more"
The second song we slowed it down a bit and the the audience also responded and quieted down. I was getting more nervous by the minute. After the 2nd number was over we had a lot of applause and a few cheers. It became quite evident that the audience wanted to Rock. Then Kawecki stepped up to the mike again and said that we were going to pick up the pace a bit with that he introduced, I think, "Typhoid". Anyway, it was the number where everyone had a solo part. Oh man, I was petrified. What the hell have I gotten into now. Kawecki started off with the familiar intro and then everybody came in. Don Gates took the first solo and boy was he good. I could see people moving with the beat. It was hot! Then the guitars had a solo. I knew what was coming next. Kawecki gave me the nod, oh God, please don't let me screw it up. I stepped out and began to play. To my surprise it was there, even the gravely sax sound that I was working on. It felt good when I looked around and saw every one smiling and moving to the music. The audience was getting into it too. I could see some of them dancing in front of there seats. This was the most fantastic feeling I ever had while playing with the band. It was all there... the crowd, the band, the music. A bit of magic happened that day at least for me. The Northern Lights never sounded so good. We must have had 2 or 3 rounds of solo's before Kawecki closed the song. The audience responded with resounding cheers. Nothing can compare with the feeling we were feeling that day. All I could think is WOW.
The rest of the performance was a blur except for people I could see dancing. We did all of our best numbers and the audience went wild. Even our slow ones were a hit. After a an hour or so we closed the show but the crowd wanted an encore so we did a couple more. They loved it! We loved it!
The Victoria rocked that day.
The announcer came on and we exited the stage with cheers. Then the second movie started. We packed up our gear and went to the lobby to meet the people coming out of the movie. To my surprise they wanted autographs and kept telling us how much they enjoyed the show. It just was like we were rock stars or something. All and all it was the most fantastic day ever!