A Wedding Reception Performance to Remember

Wedding Music

I’ve always loved the story of the bride who insisted on playing U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for” at her wedding. Apparently it was her favourite song, but I can’t help wondering what the groom thought about it. When my sister got married the whole family pitched in to suggest suitable songs. The Velvet Underground’s “I’m sticking with you” was an early contender, as was Lou Reed’s solo track “I Love You”, although the addition of “for now” on the later choruses somehow didn’t seem appropriate. In the end we decided it was just too hard to pick a song that said exactly what you wanted it to and abandoned the idea of specific songs being played.
My sister was keen however for the music on the day to be at least memorable and asked if I could lend a hand. I was happy to help out with the general background music for the day and maybe a little drunken DJing later in the night, but I though it might be cool to have some live music on the day. As I have little or no ability to produce music (aside from pressing a play button) I needed a little help on this one.
Tom had been a friend of the family’s since we were kids, always a lovely boy, he had recently started to flourish on the local music scene playing a distinctive brand of very loud and slightly nasty rock and roll. His original compositions may not have been quite suitable for a wedding, but he had become a very decent guitarist, capable of anything from pleasant jazz to the unusual and tinnitus-inducing chord progressions he was becoming famous for. I figured we could work something out.
The wedding was being held in the gardens of our parent’s house in the country. Carved out of the bush and blackberries some ten years earlier, it was beautiful spot, with colourful and unusual plantings around the house (Mums area) giving way to sloping lawns dotted with rare advanced trees (Dad’s specialty).
The day of the wedding turned out brilliantly, clear blue sky, not too hot and not a breath of wind. There were some dramas early in the day, but as the guests cars began to stack up between the trees on the east boundary and people were milling about in front of the marquee happily enjoying oysters and Boag’s premiums, one felt that everything was going to be alright.
The ceremony took place under the willow tree on the lawn at the east of the house, a beautiful setting marred only slightly by the fact that the willow had been planted over the septic tank. An underlying fear that the tank would overflow, due to the increased toilet usage (taking into account 80 guests present, plus the nerves of those staying in the house), remained unfounded and only the faintest whiff of unpleasantness was noticeable.
After the photos (“Cheese!” being replaced with choruses of “Septic!”) people made their way down the hill to the marquee for further drinks, dinner and speeches. Tom was going to go on at the end of the speeches. He had spent most of the morning in the house practicing his piece and as the day wore on was becoming surprisingly nervous.
Whilst the bride, groom and other figures went through their speeches, we set Tom up with his guitar and amp outside the marquee. Satisfied that he was all set, yet safely concealed behind the front wall of the marquee, I went back inside to let Dad know we were good to go. The father of groom, who was MCing, was just winding up when he opened up the floor, asking if there was anyone else who wanted to say a few words. When no one spoke up, my Dad stepped up to the microphone “Actually, young Tom Lyngcoln has something he’d like to say”. We threw back the wall of the marquee to reveal Tom, framed against the sloping green lawn, elegantly disheveled in a black suit and checked-blue work shirt, facing just away from the crowd, Telecaster in hand, a Marshall amp off to one side.
The crowd looked hesitant, apparently not quite sure what they were in for. He led in with some nice jazzy finger picking (his hands were shaking so badly from nerves that he claimed later to have mucked it up completely – we couldn’t tell) which gradually gave way to a jazz rendition of “The Bridal March”. Thinking they had it pegged, the crowd laughed appreciatively and gave a quiet clap. Just then Tom wheeled around to face them, stomped on his distortion pedal, and launched into a blisteringly high decibel, Hendrix-at-Woodstock-Star-Spangled-Banner inspired version of the same song.
Soon the crowd were either falling out of their chairs laughing or on their feet whooping with joy. Tom kept it up for a minute and a half before reigning in his guitar in a squall of feedback, the crowd applauding wildly. We let the side of the marquee fall back into place and the crowd continued to applaud as Tom carried his guitar and amp back up to the house.
And that was it, like a dam bursting, people were up out of their chairs - drinking, talking and dancing. The formal part of the day was over and the real party began.

by Chris Lumb

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