Some random circumstances put me in the neighborhood of Colonel Summers Park in the early evening of this fine Saturday and I decided I should try to play a show. And after a fairly successful outing at the park in Sellwood erased the memories of a prior less successful park outing, I was ready to push my luck at another park.
When I got to this spot, there was a couple canoodling on the bench you can see in the picture below, and I asked if they’d mind if I played some music. They were all for it, and so I had the pleasure of playing to an audience straight away.
But nothing lasts forever, and they bid farewell after maybe half an hour. In the meantime, a man took up a spot just to my right. He was really into the songs, and from the looks of it, he was also well into his cups.
His phone rang a couple of times while I played, and although I thought it would be polite to pause while he took a call, he urged me to play for his friends over the phone. I think he might even have been calling people for me to play to.
But I can’t complain, because each phone listener doubled my audience size. A one-man band can be a fine thing, I think, but a one-man audience? Get out your phone! (This actually gives me an idea of how to handle my next experience—for I know it’s coming—playing to no one.)
I was close enough to the sidewalk outside the park to see a lot of people walk by without pausing. A number of people walking through the park also just walked on by without stopping. So it was kind of flattering to see a woman interrupt her brisk walk through the park to listen to two songs and applaud after each of them. It’s even possible she was sober!
As I could feel things winding down, a rough looking guy some distance off shouted to me, “Can I play your guitar?” I shouted back, “No!” but decided I should leave before he decided not to take no for an answer.
From the start it didn’t seem like I’d picked a great spot to play, but my first impression was wrong. I never played to very many people at one time, but overall the people who lingered enjoyed the show very much. In the end, it was a rather gratifying experience, and I look forward to my next opportunity to play music in a park.