Outrageous Concerts

Playing Through Sheets, Lassoed on Stage, and More

From the Outrageous Concerts files:

At the Franke Center for the Arts, Marshall, Michigan, we used to put on various theme  shows. In this one we recreated the Rosebud Bar, famous (infamous) ragtime joint in St. Louis early 1900s. It included 24 hour gambling, pool shooting, cards, floozies, and a piano player who stood up while playing because drunks would bust whiskey bottles over his head when he was sitting down. The local actors group agreed to be all the lowlifes for this event, and you'll notice the upright piano on the right side of the stage. Every now and then I'd go over there and play it standing up. Also notice the grand piano is covered in a sheet with a sign that reads, "Do Not Remove by Order of the Fire Marshall." I would come out at the beginning, say hello to the audience, look puzzled over the sign, then start playing the concert through the sheet. After a tune of two a couple guys would come running over, screaming and waving their arms, and say, "Bob! You can take that sheet off now!" Then they'd whip it off the piano while I was playing and toss it ignominiously into some dark corner.

We did a similar thing in Florida one time, but we hid other piano players and a stage hand under the sheet.  The stage hand had a little dog, and when the ripped the sheet off to expose this gaggle of piano players underneath, the dog walked out to center stage and stood there looking at the audience for a minute or so. All the while I was roaring away on the piano while everyone underneath hastily crawled off the stage in different directions. Bill Edwards was one of them, so I'm tagging him with this post.

I'll be posting more Outrageous Concert stories periodically.

Blackwater, Missouri, is probably the smallest town in the state. I performed there twice a year for over 20 years. 

The town is industrious, sincere, and playful. Every time I played there, some bizarre thing would explode on me partway through the performance. 

We would fill their little West End Theatre every time, and many people came to hear not only the concert but to see the weirdness put on by the mayor, either Bobby Danner or Shelby D depending on the year.

It appears I've been invaded by aliens in this picture. They've brought one of those cut-out people with them and are going to make some sort of proclamation I assume. 

In previous years I've been lassoed on stage, presented with a badge and designated the town marshal, interrupted by Santa and a sleigh roaring across the stage, and 20 years of wild happenings on stage when no one expected it. I'll be posting more from Blackwater as we go along.