The Man in the Pink Suit

A friend’s full time wedding band scheduled a last minute/mandatory showcase on a Sunday afternoon that conflicted with a gig he had booked with another cover band.

He gave me a call a week before to sub for him on the gig with a full disclaimer saying the group has good players and nice people, but they’re a little disorganized. That said, he had gotten them to the point where the rhythm section was “trained” to dutifully follow the forms of the charts that my friend had skillfully written for the 3-piece horn section.

I attended the rehearsal and everything went fine – though it was as he said – folks were a little late and disorganized – but the music and the hang was good, so all was ok and on track for the upcoming gig.

Now, again because this was last minute, I had a full Sunday already scheduled, but given the time window of the gig and factoring driving from and to commitments I had before and after the gig – everything fit together quite nicely and I was glad to help my buddy out of a conflict.

UNTIL – we met the man in the Pink Linen suit.

I arrive at the location (an outdoor park in a “city” just south of Philadelphia) and it turns out that it was a festival – being run/organized by a large man dressed head to toe in a pink linen suit (including a pink fedora and shiny pink wing tips) – by “large” I mean 6’5″ and over 300 lbs – he was truly a sight to behold.

So we unload in our designated staging spot with plenty of time to make our scheduled down beat and the man in pink says that they were running a few minutes behind but that things are generally on schedule – it should only be another 15 minutes or so.

Ok – I had some margin built into my “window” so all is well.

But then 15 minutes of waiting, turns into 30.

Where’s the man in the pink suit? “No problem,” he says, “it will be any minute now.”

Then comes an hour, which turns into 90 minutes and the original band is STILL PLAYING.

We all keep looking to the man in the pink suit – strutting around as if he didn’t have a care in the world, dancing, chatting with the ladies in the park.

Our leader chases him down again and again each time he gets the same response – “Don’t worry, your set should be any time now…”

Well at this point – I’m dumbfounded – if things don’t start soon, I’m going to be late for my OTHER commitment.

I call my friend to tell him the situation.

Turns out he’s wrapping up his showcase, but he’s 45 minute drive away.

Right there on the phone, we hatch a plan.

I’ll hang for another 45 minutes before I HAVE to leave. If the gig starts before he gets there, I’ll start playing, but either way I’m out of there on the 45.

I told the band leader of the plan in a way that ensured there was no negotiation or discussion – it was what it was!

So – the gig finally started – and the 45 minute count-down-clock hit zero – I was out – left the stage (I think I at least waited until the end of the song)

As I was walking to my car – my buddy pulled into the parking lot and I literally tagged him in by giving him a high-five – he took it from there.

The gig was covered – no harm, no foul – and he graciously offered to give me the full pay for the gig for being “on-call” to help him out.

By the way, the man in the pink suit took two months to pay the band. “No problem, check will be along any time now” as if I should have expected anything else.

In the end, I only took half pay for the part that I played, because, at the end of the day, it wasn’t that much pay, and it makes a much better ending to our “tag-team-trumpet” story.

Which we both tell…often…usually any time a gig is running a little late.

“That’s nothing”…I say…”wait until I tell you about the man in the pink linen suit.”

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