It must have been in the stage monitors because I didn’t hear it out in the audience. But it gives me some comfort in knowing that even top musicians and venues experience technical difficulties.
On that same weekend a friend of mine played a gig back here in North Carolina and had a similar problem. It seems that every time the bass player hit a certain note it vibrated the E string on the lead guitar. It reminded me of the scene in the movie “This is Spinal Tap” where one of the amplifiers began picking up radio signals during a performance.
The first time I saw Jimmy Buffet play in the '70s it was during a “low dough” show at the cavernous Orlando Civic Center. The sound system and stage crew apparently were also low rent because the shrieking feedback stopped Jimmy from playing after the first few notes.
I remember he put down his guitar and started manually rearranging the black speaker towers until he had them positioned just right. He put his instrument back on, went up to the microphone, and said, “Now nobody touch anything.”
I had an old 100-watt Peavey guitar head that was prone to overheating, which had a devastating effect on the electronic components. I had to start putting a small fan behind it to keep it cool and working.
It’s always wise to have backup equipment but not always financially feasible to have two of everything. An old band of mine was playing a gig at the Orlando Naval Training Center when that Peavey amp lost its cool and stopped cooperating. Fortunately I knew a fellow musician who lived nearby and was willing to lend me his guitar amplifier.
And when you’re starting out in the business you can’t always afford the best equipment and sometimes have to jury-rig your rigs. I built most of my first speaker cabinets out of plywood and made cables from electrical line chords. They didn’t always meet electrical safety codes, which made for some unintended smoke effects.
If you’re playing an acoustic guitar around a campfire you might break a string but not many other complications can disrupt a performance. When electricity is involved, things get more complicated.