One of the great things about music is the sense of connection and community it creates. People from all different walks of life coming together to share a common language and a common love. Of course this isn’t just about music but about the person or people you meet along the way that share something of themselves with you and it stays with you for ever.
For those 100 people who wandered out the back of our humble store that night in April 2010 to sit with the late, and indeed great Bob Brozman that experience will live on with them forever.
It happened almost by accident, one of those off the cuff comments where a mutual friend of mine and Bob Brozman’s, Skip Sail mentioned to me that he was touring with Bob on his next visit to Australia and I mentioned that we would love to have him for a workshop, we chuckled and the conversation went on to other matters. A while later Skip rang me and reminded me of the comment and he thought he might be able to arrange for it to happen if we were still interested. This was a classic no-brainer. Skip mentioned with a grin that Bob was a classic New Yorker and would try and crack a good deal, I said I was happy to leave that in his hands to negotiate.
People came from far and wide, Stawell, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne and of course locals filling the back area of the shop, I still don’t know where we put over 100 people but we all squeezed in and the room was filled with anticipation. Bob being Bob of course wandered through the crowd to the stage picked up his resonator and exploded! At the end of the first song I still remember looking around the crowd and seeing either jaws “literally” on the ground or huge grins on all our beaming faces, we knew we were in for something special.
Of course the playing was amazing, the jokes were funny and the stories insightful but I remember so well at a point about two thirds the way through Bob broke a string on one of his guitars, without losing stride he got the crowd clapping, starting singing a melody with sounds, no words, and reached down into his gigbag under his chair. Pulling out a string he unwound
it and fitted it to the instrument. He started to play it again while he tuned and when he was happy launched straight back into the song without dropping a beat, and the crowd, well we just erupted with spontaneous laughter and applause.
At the end of the night after it was over I remember two things. I had a guy come up to me and said, ‘no offence but I cant believe I just saw Bob Brozman in the back of your shop in Bendigo!’ and he walked out still shaking his head. The other thing I remember was Bob coming up to
just before he headed off with Skip saying that he had forgotten to charge me GST on his fee, I looked at Skip and he had a little grin on his face, but based on the experience over 100 people had shared in our place that night another 10% was a small price to pay.