I think every musician has a list of the strangest and/or most horrible gigs that they've played. My strangest until last night was probably the queer hippie birthday party I played in Washington state where everybody, men, women, and children, were dressed as fairies and my quartet played Ravel outside on a windy day next to a firepit with salmon cooking over it. It wasn't bad (it was actually quite fun, and the salmon was delicious!), but it was a fairly odd experience. I don't know if last night can compare, but it was strange in an entirely different way.
We were playing an all-Mozart gig for Europe Day (it's the year of the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, hence the music choice), sponsored by the Austrian consulate but attended by a lot of fancy-schmancy people from all different parts of Europe. It was on the top floor of the Aon tower, which is apparently the third-tallest building in Chicago. We were on the 80th floor! It was the longest elevator ride I've ever taken, and my ears were popping the whole way. When we got up there, they did indeed have 18th century costumes for us, complete with white fluffy wigs (!). My costume consisted of a very long blue velvet skirt, and shirt with lace-trimmed flow-y sleeves and two bustle-like things that hung over the sides. Plus, of course, the wig, which would become more and more annoying as my curls kept falling onto my instrument as I played and my head became roughly 20 degrees warmer than the rest of my body. But anyway, I guess that's the most exciting part of things. Other details were more like any old gig, with people drinking way too much and trying to talk to our piano player as he was playing and everyone in general talking so loudly that we couldn't hear each other at all. But hey, it's money, and the costumes make for a good story. I'm hoping to get pictures soon and post them here.