Day 31: Interstate Tour 2018
I arrived in Gettysburg around 3 pm and walked around downtown for a bit before popping into The Garryowen Irish Pub. Manager Anne Gallagher was there with the crew, some familiar and some new to me and we caught up on things while I had a pint of Guinness and ordered up an Ulster Fry.
Anne's punk band, TBD, put out a new CD and I listened to it while parking Imua in the back of the pub, right next to the brand new outdoor patio area. It's great stuff - sounds like west coast punk, the kind of stuff I was listening to when part of Crazed Bunnyz. I began playing at The Garryowen every 4th of July week in 2010. I'd been teaching workshops and doing a house concert nearby; the owner had arranged for me to perform at the pub - no pay, but it would take place during the 147th anniversary of The Battle of Gettysburg, so the place would be mobbed with tourists and I'd make pretty good tips.
The upstairs section of The Garryowen is called The GO Too and it's a long, small room with a bar and some seating. People usually would hang out here and have a drink or two while waiting for their table to be ready in the dining room downstairs. I began playing at 6 pm and the room stayed packed (it was also one of the hottest Julys on record and the small in-window air conditioning unit was doing its best, which wasn't great) until I quit at 2:13 am, told by the bartender that everyone had to be on the streets by 2:30 am - city ordinance.
The group consisted of rotating diners, curious previous diners, re-enactors and regulars who flocked back to the bar after dinner hours. And they kept buying me pints of Guinness, and then they started sending shots of Jameson, and I played and played and never took a break. It was 8+ hours of non-stop music with no repeats and I never got up to use the restroom. Not once! Not ever! I didn't go until everyone had to leave. It wasn't even like I really had to go - just casually walked into the bathroom. I'm still wondering how that was even possible. The conditions were certainly favorable for me to just sweat it out.
So, I've come back every year to replicate the feat and did exactly that until probably 2014, when I simply said, "look, the bladder isn't what it used to be" and started taking five minute breaks when necessary.
Tonight, I instituted a new format, not only to save my bladder but also to allow time for visiting. Over the years of playing this marathon show, folks have come from near and far to be there. I've made life-long friends and this concert is sort of like a little reunion for some of us. It's hard to catch up with folks when you're on stage every moment of the evening - so I basically did four two-hour sets, give or take a few minutes, and got to hang out with the wonderful folks who made it a point to come out, and to some of those who make this an annual event - it was another wild, fun show!
It was also riddled with some technical and operational glitches. Had batteries start to go out on the harmonizer pedal (replaced them), broke two strings (replaced them) and had the Bose L1 fry out (might be a fuse, grabbed my portable amp.)
Nevertheless, I pushed onward, picking up songs where I left off and just bobbing and weaving Murphy, who was all about demonstrating his Law.
I love The Garryowen and its crew - I love the folks who join me each year for this all-night sing along. It's also very nice to simply pack everything up and go behind the pub to Imua, where I finally got sleeping at 4 am.