14 Nov “What do you mean he can’t make it?”
The dreaded phone call came 4 days before the scheduled show. Al Jarreau had surgery 5 weeks earlier and allowed plenty of time to recover and perform for our client at their convention in Atlanta. But he suffered a setback and was not physically able to get on a plane and make the show. A producer’s worst nightmare (maybe besides dealing with Mariah Carey) because although everyone understands he is physically unable to perform we still have 300 guests planning on a great evening of entertainment.
It was time to work the phones and find a replacement. But it cannot just be any replacement. The act has to work for this particular crowd and has to be in a similar budget range. And oh yea, needs to be able to get to the venue along with his band and technical people and we are in Atlanta, GA, not New York or LA.
While our friends at the agencies scrambled and offered possible suggestions, I remembered a great vocalist who used to live in Atlanta – Peabo Bryson. It had been a while since we had worked with Peabo, not because of his talent, but simply because most of our audiences want to get up and dance these days. There is not as much call for “torch” singers as there used to be but this situation called for just such an artist. Fortunately, Peabo still lived in Atlanta as did a lot of his band and even better he was open and could take the gig.
Fast forward three days and many phone calls between technical people as we switched out everything we had prepared for Al Jarreau and made way for a Peabo Bryson show. When Sunday evening arrived, Peabo and band hit the stage and blew away the crowd. The man’s voice is incredible and the audience loved it. Peabo even performed an Al Jarreau song in honor of him. Oh, the client also saved some money as the total costs for Peabo were less than for Al Jarreau.
We never want to deal with cancellations and we work hard in advance of these dates to try and make sure there are no conflicts, but when disaster does strike it is good to know the many years of experience and relationships help make good lemonade out of lemons.