January-February, 2001

February 25th--The ByPass--Joplin, MO--Well, trying to get off of this religious theme, the good Lord proves that we humans have no chance of being perfect.  With that said, the crowd at the Bypass was light, but as always one of the most appreciative and knowledgeable crowds we witness in our musical journeys.  Seeing many familiar faces keeps us comfortable in our homes away from home.  Once again, overcoming some exhaustion, the band had to draw from out of body strengths to put on a good show.  This night belonged to Brian.  His solo on Sweet Little Angel was probably one of the best ever heard in these parts.  Drawing from a myriad of emotions, Brian had the crowd on its feet only half-way through the performance.  And just when they thought it was over with their hands cocked for the applause, Brian hit them with enough energy to alleviate the California Crisis.  Every arm in the place went straight into the air in exaltation.  Shame on many of you Southwestern Missourians that missed it.  We will get you in April.

February 24th--The Kitchen Pass--Parsons, KS--It feels good to get back in the saddle after some time away from the club stage.  This night witnessed the exorcism of some demons of musical apathy (did I just come full circle with this?).  Gary once again proved to the people of Kansas that there are only (and I quote), "Clapton, Allman, and [Hutchison]" to be reckoned with in the world of guitar gods.  If I recall, there were probably about half a dozen folks that night believing that they had seen a deity being crowned before their eyes.  Not wanting to let the moment die, they scrambled for autographs and a chance to take a ride in the king's new PT Cruiser.  Fortunately for Gary, even the spacious car of the gods could not accommodate the swelling masses that night...we were all tired, but Gary Hutchison, guitar god, even in his weakend state from lack of sleep stepped up to the plate to convert a few more of the unexposed non-believers.  Amen, brother Gary!

February 17th--Ft. Smith, AR--It is a wonder some times when we look in to the crowd and see who is tapping their toes to our music.  This night, we were performing for a fund-raising event for a new Catholic school being built in Ft. Smith.  While rocking along to Wooly Bully, we noticed a few nuns getting into the music.  I suppose the Lord blessed us all with being affected in our own special ways with the power of music.  Even his most convicted of His servants can't refuse to shake their hips to a little Oreo Blue.

Insert-- February 9th--The Ohio Club--Hot Springs, AR--Oreo Blue was very sorry to not be able and bring the entire band to the Ohio Club in Hot Springs this past weekend the 9th&10th of February.  Due to some damage to the Ballroom during late Decembers ice storm they could only accommodate Gary and myself.  Stephen and Rod were missed very much. In spite of all that it was an absolutely rockin' weekend.  Friday night was out of control and so much fun that we couldn't hardly contain ourselves, and Saturday was lot's of fun, too.  Thanks much to the birthday girl Pam from Little Rock and her three friends, and our good friend Day from Fayetteville along with her folks.  We hope to be returning to Hot Springs in late May or early June and the entire group will be there so until then, thanks for the support.--Brian Crowne/ sax

February 9th--The Ohio Club--Hot Springs, AR--Those of you looking for the band this weekend at the Ohio Club will be as disappointed as we that the upstairs show room was damaged in the recent ice storms and has been deemed unplayable.  As always, we looked forward to performing as Oreo Blue in Hot Springs for our rabid fans and the bar-top dancing wait staff.  Nevertheless, our esteemed front men, Brian and Gary will be posing as Saxsky and Hutch respectively, for your listening pleasure.  They will be performing all of your favorite ditties and cracking a few one-liners.  Look for Oreo Blue to return as soon as the facilities are back in working order.  (hopefully the elevator will be installed in the mean time...)

January 12-13th--Two Frogs Grill--Ardmore, OK--Only one thing can save a band from the five hour drive, load in, and set up blues...a great venue with great people.  I am not really sure what is in the water in Ardmore, but this small town seems to have a really big heart and a lot of spunk.  Granted, most bands are not all that thrilled about performing in a restaurant, but Aubry Harris has solved this problem in a number of ways:  First, the food is fantastic at Two Frogs Grill.  You can get a full report in the November 10th entry of this newsletter (so I won't go on again about food as I am apt to do).  Second, the people are wonderful.  They drive from all parts of southwest Oklahoma and North Texas to take in the food and see the band when we perform at Two Frogs mostly by word of mouth!  Thirdly, Aubry is a fanatic fan of quality music and has tremendous taste in the blues genre.  Plans are in the works to modify the venue to accommodate national and regional acts with production and staging to boot.  Fourth, the staff at Two Frogs is the most attentive on the planet.  Teamwork is their game and it is glowing in their service.  (Tip 'em well)  The fine folks in Ardmore and surrounding areas certainly deserve a hopping point for great bands and the folks at Two Frogs deserve all of the great business that follows as a result.  Thanks to all of our new friends in and around Ardmore and all of the Two Frogs staff for their hospitality and attention.  

January 6th--Springfiled Brewing Company--Springfield, Missouri--Despite illness and distance, the show must go on.  Many folks whom have not experienced the life of a working musician may not realize what makes up a nights' show.  A typical week for a working musician might include:  

  • recover sleep from previous weekend;

  • work day job all week;

  • do fatherly or motherly duties if applicable;

  • rehearse at least one day of the week (ideally);

  • get the itch to perform by looking forward to the weekend;

  • make arrangements for departure times to the next venue;

  • in Oreo Blue's case, make arrangements for gathering place if members live a distance from each other;

  • load equipment and luggage in the vehicle;

  • load personnel into vehicle (comfort not included);

  • drive and drive and drive;

  • arrive at venue;

  • check into hotel or go direct to venue;

  • unload equipment and set up (usually about 1 hour);

  • sound check and resolve any technical problems;

  • eat (finding quality meals are paramount);

  • change into "gig clothes";

  • perform; an Oreo Blue show is generally 4 hours with only one 15 minute break.  

  • tear down equipment and reload into trailer;

  • retire to hotel or drive and drive and drive.

All this may seem simple and just a hitch in what appears a charmed life.  On the contrary, although indeed  it is a joy to be a musician, the rigors of schlepping ones own gear, and the travel, and the wear and tear of each performance can be trying.  As it has been said, 'We get paid to load and set up gear...the performance is free."  Although no price can be put on great musical performances, musical equipment such as PA gear, amplifiers, drums, and the like weigh up to hundreds of pounds each and is just plain work to move.  Loading equipment on a typical Oreo Blue show includes gear that fills an entire 6X10' trailer and the back half of a 1990 Suburban. Sometimes up long flights of stairs or around venues obviously not built for efficient load-ins.  In any case, in the words of a fan spoken recently, "Man. You guys work your (butts) off getting all that (stuff) set up!"  Probably in response to our sweaty faces, groaning backs, aching shoulders, upset stomachs, and weary eyes.  All for the sake of putting on a great show for two reasons:  So that you can see a great show week in and week out, and so that we can continue to do what we love so dearly...no matter the cost.

I wish that we could share with you the enlightening conversations of the road.  Many are not worthy of printing, many are not able to be printed, and many could be performance treasures immeasurable by known standards only to be relegated to the memories of us musicians.  I am convinced that many of the world's problems could be solved by a fly on the wall of the Rock and Roll Suburban.  If only he could stomach the conversation...

January 4th--Nightflying 20th Anniversary Party--Georges in Fayetteville, AR--Nightflying has been a staple of the music industry in Arkansas and the surrounding states for twenty years now.  Musicians and music fans should rejoice in its existence and survival for without it, what could possibly be referenced as a central gathering medium for entertainment?  Try to picture this publication as a sort of "Town Hall" where musicians and music fans meet and share information about who, what, when, and where.  And picture Peter Read as its "Town Crier" bellowing out the new and keeping tabs with the old..."Hear ye, hear ye! Announcing the new band from so and so...!" or  "Come one, come all to see the fantastic band that has thrilled us for years!"  Amazingly, Peter maintains his objectivity and sincerity in his publication giving all equal time and attention... allowing young bands to grow and veteran bands to keep the fires burning.  Thanks, Peter, for all that you have done no matter how much we take it for granted.  


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