Every once in a while, here in China, I'm lucky enough to land a gig or two. Usuall y, I don't know anything about where the gig is, or what's going to hap pen...and it was no different today. My friend Philip has been performing for many years in China; he booked this one. W e met around 6:45am, then met up with a bus in North Chengdu. This is pretty ordinary for gigs i n China. Usually, all of the performers are provided a bus if the show is a little out of the way. Today we traveled to a city north of Chengdu named Deyang (duh-yang). Today, the bus was filled with a variety of people: swing dancers, magicians, a couple cages of bird, an opera singer, a couple managers, and of course us, the band. Bedsides Philip and myself, Chad Sinclair (guitarist) and Fu (keyboardist) made up the group. The drive was about an hour from Chengdu to Deyang. As we drove through downtown Deyang, I noticed a line of artillery guns in front a new building. I had just about forgotten about them, then about an hour later we were all startled as they were fired for about five minutes straight. Philip assured me that this is common for the grand opening of many buisnesses in China. Why can't they just hire a marching band or something? The gig itself was at a huge 5 star hotel. Like most China gigs, we weren't exactly sure what or who we were playing for, but it was most likely a real estate company. We had about an hour and a half before the first set, so as Philip did the necessary setup, the rest of us got a chance to explore a little bit. As you can see, it they spared no expense. In the first set we play all instrumental numbers. After a break, Philip sang Cotton Fields and Wu Suo Wei. As we started the second set, the place cleared out as they announced that the buffet was open. That was okay with us, as we don't usually rehearse before these gigs(although we did rock it). Philip's driver took us back to the city in his little red Suzuki. I don't think I'll ever smell the same.