Shannon McMahon

Wishing On Planes

Montreal Jam 2011

I'm still basking in the afterglow of this year's Montreal Jam, held July 29, 30 and 31 up in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec.  An awesome confluence of musicians and fans, this gathering seems to get better each year.  20 Second Life musicians graced the stage on Saturday and Sunday, including Gandalf Mornington, Stratus Mactavish, Montrealer Moody, Montian Gilruth, me (Shannon Oherlihy), Eponine Dench, Maximillion Kleene, Wren Hartunian, FunkyFreddy Republic, Tamra Sands, Maurice Mistwallow, Wytchwhisper Sadofsky, Taunter Goodnight, JellyJellyJelly Benelli, Katydid Something, Slim Shaky, Jase Branner, FrancoOis Beaumont, Lyndon Heart and Norris Shepherd. Back in 2009, at the first Montreal Jam, I was the poster child for the stolen guitar...the cautionary tale of how not to lose your instrument, and it was a minor underlying theme this year, with choruses of "Where's your guitar?" heard throughout the weekend. I did manage to come home with my guitar this time, although I had a momentary scare on Saturday night. Rich and I were getting ready to go and I went to the restroom and then to pack up my guitar, only to find it not there. Where's my guitar?" I said to Bree, and she said, "Oh no, not again."  I turned around and there was Rich with my guitar -- he had packed up my gear for me, loyal and dedicated roadie that he is.

The music started at the Friday night mixer, held at Dundee's, a bar and restaurant in the heart of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. The impromptu jam featured many of the musicians on a rotating basis and was a great way to get a sense of each musician's style. There was a pajama party planned for back at the dorm, but everyone elected to stay at Dundee's and keep playing till midnight.

In 2009, at the first Montreal Jam, I was not that comfortable about asking people to join in my set -- I had only been playing in Second Life just under a year, and was very shy. What if they said no? After having been to both Montreal in 2009 and Hartford in 2010, I realized that a bit of preplanning helps to make things go smoother, even though the off-the-cuff stuff totally rocked!  The musicians were so top-notch, it felt like we had been playing together for years. I was pleased and honored to be asked to sing and play in the sets of Montrealer Moody, Katydid Something, Maurice Mistwallow and JellyJellyJelly Benelli.  The structure was such that anyone could jump in at any time, but it was nice to be included specifically.

It's always wonderful to play when there is a great sound system available. I think it makes a major difference, and it sure did here. I know Rich enjoyed running the sound board and he did an excellent job. (Yes, I might be a little biased, but as a musician, I know the sound was great.)

I ended up playing a mix of originals and covers in my set.  My story of the stolen guitar, Lost in Montreal opened the set. The covers I played were God's Promise, You Ain't Goin Nowhere, Black StarAngel From Montgomery, America, Wayfaring StrangerParadiseKathy's Song, Different Drum. 40 Years On, Emotional Vampire and Anyway were the originals. That was my set, to the best of my knowledge. I did play in a couple of other sets, so my memory might overlap.  The crowd in-world in Second Life was amazing. The screen was shown behind us on a curtain attached to the stage.  I turned around from time to time to see if I could see anyone I knew, and to check the time. It was neat to get a request from someone in-world too. My only regret for my set was that I didn't specifically ask for singers to come up, and I should have. There were some awesome vocalists there. I guess I thought that it was implied that they were all welcome. Next time I will make that clear.

I am sure I missed out on a lot of fun by not staying at the dorms. From the stories I heard, everyone was up till all hours playing and singing and enjoying each other's company. We stayed at a lovely B&B, Gite Angell,  just over the bridge. It was right on the lake and so relaxing. The breakfasts were out of this world...stuffed french toast and sausage, fresh fruit and yogurt, toast and cheeses for Saturday breakfast, and a bagel topped with pesto, tomatoes and cheese, roasted grapefruit with fresh fruit and candied ginger on top, cheese and toast for Sunday's breakfast.

We left on Sunday in the afternoon, so I missed the closing. Wish we could have stayed, but as often is the case, RL called. The woman at the border crossing didn't understand why we would travel to meet people that we met on the Internet. We didn't have time to explain with any depth what it all meant to us.

Sincere thanks to Montian, Bree and all who helped make this jam the great one it was. It's always wonderful to meet new people, make new friends and share our love of music together.

© 2016 Shannon McMahon Music