Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crystal Gardens (07.19.11)

A little history lesson is needed to explain the significance of last night's show at Crystal Gardens. I joined Second Life back in 2006, and at the time, had no idea about the possibility of live music in virtual worlds. It didn't take long for me to find people doing their shows, though, and I quickly jumped onboard with my own. However, like most new players in SL, it took awhile before I built up an audience and found cool places where I liked to perform. Sometime in mid-2007, I was doing a show and someone from the audience came up and spoke to me after my set was done. Her name was Sandi Benelli, and it turned out that a) she owned a venue named Crystal Sands, and b) was a big fan of the music I tended to cover then, which included Neil Young and similar acoustic-based artists.

Sandi asked if I was interested in performing at her place (I was), and after my first show there, she booked another... and another. It wasn't long before I was performing every Monday evening at 5PM at Crystal Sands, and one of the fun things about a regular gig is that you get to know the other artists who play around your time slot. I recall Elvis Duffy having the 4PM slot, and Ictus Belford playing after me at 6PM every week. We would do things like perform each other's tunes (forcing the others to scramble and find songs that hadn't been already done), and those nights were almost as fun from a comedy standpoint as they were from that of music performance.

Unfortunately, like everything in life, there were some changes. Sandi wasn't able to sustain the financial obligations in paying so many artists (she was hosting a lot of shows by then), so in late 2008, she had to cut way back, and eliminated the Monday night shows (which, to be honest, was a tough time slot to get good crowds in any case). I certainly understood, and by then had plenty of places where I could play, so I moved on. Like most situations where you're not seeing the same people all the time (like a job change, for instance), I gradually lost touch with Sandi and her gang of friends over the next couple of years.

Sandi Benelli with her RL fiancé Mikal Beaumont.

Back to the Now
As you all know by now, in February I started working with a manager in SL for the first time, the lovely Maali Beck (who has been outstanding). Maali recently attended the Chicago SL Jam, and happened to hang out there with Sandi Benelli, who is from the Chicago area. They spoke and discovered their mutual connection to me, and the next thing I knew, Maali had booked me to play at Sandi's newer (and much nicer, may I add) venue, Crystal Gardens. It seems that Sandi and her man Mikal have an entire island sim there, with a coupe of venues that are very well designed for both performers and audience members alike.

The most fun you can have on a Tuesday night with your clothing on. Photos by Kat.

I played on their Beach Stage, and while we didn't get a massive crowd, the people who were there were very fun, and we had a great time reminiscing about the "old days" (which in SL means just a few years ago). It was great to be back! Some of the songs I chose for this show were purposeful nods to the material I was playing back in 2007/2008.

Crystal Gardens Set List
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Tangerine (Led Zeppelin)
Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts)
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)
Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
Love Hurts (Everly Brothers)
Tribute (Tenacious D)
Heart of Gold (Neil Young)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash)

Huge thanks to all who supported my show!

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