Equipment Failure Issues
Last night we were playing a gig here in beautiful New Mexico at the Isleta Resort. Since it was a fly date, we used rental gear. And mine failed for a moment during the show. My sustain pedal suddenly started to operate in reverse. With the pedal in the up position, every note I played was sustained. Maybe I should have just flipped it over? Nah…. That wouldn’t have worked. While I was trying to solve this problem the next song was kicking off and I was nowhere to be found. As a matter of fact, I had turned the Nord Stage 2 off and was waiting for it to boot up again, hoping that would solve the issue. The band also stopped, wondering what happened. It’s a piano-heavy intro and it was very empty without me. It’s nice to be missed sometimes! By this time the piano booted up but the pedal was still operating in reverse. I checked to make sure it was plugged in all the way. I considered calling up a piano sound on the top board which was a Nord Electro. I had been using the Electro for organ and I did not have a backup-piano patch ready. I finally just switched the Nord Stage 2 piano to a different patch and then came back to the piano patch… it worked. I didn’t know for how long, but it was working and we were able to continue. There was another issue where the rubber pads on the stand were not working to keep the keyboard on the stand! After every song I had to push the keyboard’s right side back on the stand. I just hoped it would not fall off in my lap.
The lesson that I learned here was to have a backup plan when you are using rental gear. If at all possible. If you have two keyboards then have some redundancy, just in case. At sound check I should have played a little longer and a lot harder so I could see the issue with the stand. I could have put a rag under it or something. I do bring my own swell pedals, but I did not bring my own sustain pedal. Next time I will. Because ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure everything works. I’m also going to go through my own rig and make sure I have some kind of redundancy built in. Even if it’s a Casio in the bay…. That’d be something.
I’ve had several equipment issues over the years. Sometimes in a small club, sometimes in a 20,000 seat arena. It’s a horrible feeling. A stand fails, a patch does not work like I programmed it. Levels between patches are suddenly way off. It can literally be anything. I’ve never had to stop a song until last night. And I hope it never happens again! Luckily my band and my singer all understand about rental gear issues. But for me personally, that hurt.
Go through your equipment thoroughly and imagine what you’d do if one of your keyboards failed. If that helps one person, it will have been worth it!
Obviously, we don't know everything. But we do tend to think differently. Here are some of my thoughts on piano and maybe some on life. I play piano for Tracy Lawrence, produce new artists, write and practice piano.