Last night’s gig was a simple one. We were to perform at a cocktails and appetizers portion of the evening for the guests. Here’s a twist. We’re going to be singing waiters. Once again, nothing to out of the ordinary for us. So we’re told to wear black pants and a white shirt, we’ll be given the rest of the outfit when we get there.
Check. Our spin on it is that at some point during the evening, Flora will trip and drop her tray and I’ll say “Be careful. It’s so easy to fall. Be careful.” and then we’ll launch into the Linda Ronstadt song “It’s so Easy” and after that, we’ll do the gig and be done.
I head down to the gig and once I’m there, I’m given a matador jacket and a black bow tie (see picture). We’re all there and discussing how things are going to go when another curve comes our way. We’re going to actually serve appetizers to the guests before we sing. That’s not standard on a singing gig and that’s when I find out I’m the only one of us with serving experience (I had been a singing server at a restaurant called Knickers years earlier and spent a summer at a conference grounds where I was a performer/server).
No big problem. Yes, it’s a skill, but we should all be able to handle it and come out relatively unscathed. And the appetizers are fairly easy to remember. We’ll be serving bacon wrapped scallops, mushroom tarts and shrimp cocktail. Good. Everything is going along fine, until I look over at the other staff and notice…They’re wearing gloves. I hesitate to ask, but I go ahead and say…
“Should we be wearing gloves?”
“Oh yes” comes the reply. “Let me get those for you.”
Everyone looks at me with a pleading “Why did you ask that?” look in their eyes. I don’t blame them. I’ve carried huge trays in my serving days and done it all on fingertip, but not with gloves…Or silver trays…With appetizers…And the other hand filled with a plate with napkins. The level of difficulty just went from a 4.0 to a 6.6.
We get our gloves and we get our appetizers (I got the shrimp cocktail, it was the heaviest and I was okay with that) and off we go.
We get out into the crowd and I’m feeling all right about the job I’m doing when I hear a thump behind me and think to myself “Is it time already?” And turn around. Nope, a small table had been knocked over and that’s when I see that the rest of the staff is out, but with no appetizers. They’re shadowing us to make sure everything goes smoothly and nothing major happens (other than what’s planned, of course).
We serve a few appetizers, then gather in the middle of big group of guests and Flora does her faux trip and drops an empty tray and I rush over with my appetizers still in hand and deliver my line. But before I could finish, I could hear people whispering things like “What’s going on?” and other things because the service here is obviously impeccable and this would be really out of the ordinary. So by the time I’ve finished the setup phrase, we’ve got the attention of everyone around us and when we break into the song, people started laughing and smiling.
And that’s the way it went for the rest of the gig. The guests loved us and what we were doing and didn’t hesitate to let us know. What a great gig and a great time. But one of the best lines of the night came from one of the members of 4-AM (I don’t remember who it was), but they said in passing “Good thing we were supposed to be bumbling, that really worked for us”.