A Fall In Durango

The story of a gig gone oh-so-very-wrong.

Back in nineteen-eighty-one… or two, I lived in a tourist town in Colorado. I was trying to get some kind of band together. At the time the band was me, my girlfriend and our mutual buddy John. We were playing strummy-folky acoustic music. We weren’t horrible, but we weren’t good. There were two music venues on the main street, the rockin’ pizza joint and the mellow folkie coffee house. The front window of the rockin’ pizza joint looked in on the stage from behind. You could see the band rockin’ and the people dancin’ and you just had to go in and join the fun. The coffee house, on the other hand did most of their business at lunch on weekdays. They had folk music on Saturday nights. Not a big draw. They decided they should do a ‘stage in the window’ like the rockin’ pizza joint… Maybe people would wanna come in. 

Well, we got a gig at the coffeehouse, two guys with acoustic guitars and my girlfriend singing, it was all so mellow and strummy. We had an audience of maybe seven but then three of them left. The remaining customers weren’t really paying us much attention until we started playing our Crosby, Stills & Nash song… all eyes turned to the stage. We were getting pretty excited when I looked back through the plate glass windows onto the street. There, directly behind us were two very large people, a man and a woman. They were large and intoxicated, and they were having a fight… there on the sidewalk, behind the band, through the plate glass window. We kept playing. The tiny audience looked right through us, because this domestic quarrel was more interesting than anything we had played all night. 

It was somewhere in the line “Think about how many times I have fallen”, that the big woman gave the big man a mighty shove and he came smashing through the window in a blizzard of broken glass and landed between John and my girlfriend. We ground to a halt as I said something lame and stupid through the mic. We got down on the floor and helped the guy wrap up his arm which was bleeding pretty bad. The woman outside was still pissed but maybe a bit surprised at what she had accomplished. The cops came. Everybody left. We made $14 and got some free sandwiches.

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