My band and I brought the house down as I was getting ready to release my album LIFT in Springfield, IL, where I lived while attending college.

By that point, I had already established a good size fanbase in Illinois. I decided to have a huge CD release party to celebrate the birth of my new creation. All of the local media was invited. My band and I practiced for weeks to make sure our performance was going to be perfect. I did radio spots on every radio station imaginable in the area and had articles in all of the newspapers. The event was going to be a success.

I was planning to have the concert video-taped, so I hired a professional cameraman and paid for a professional stage-light system. Everything was going beautifully that day. My band, the cameraman, the lighting guy and I got to the club and set everything up. The crowd started pouring in as we were finishing the soundcheck. Everyone was happy and excited. The club owner told us that he had never had such a large crowd. We filmed a few seconds of the soundcheck to test, adjusted the stage lights, finished the soundcheck and stepped off of the stage to say hello to everyone before we were to return to the stage in a couple of minutes.

As soon as we were getting ready to get back onstage, we heard a loud thud and saw a lot of dust in the stage area. In this crowded club it took us a couple of seconds to figure out what had happened. Apparently, the lights were too heavy for the ceiling above the stage. The heavy, sharp-edged stage lights fell down on the drum kit and our guitarist's rig. Sections of the ceiling slid down onto the stage like giant playing cards, one after the other. A huge cloud of dust and debris covered the entire stage area. Picture: 

Had we been on the stage, our drummer would have been severely hurt, if not killed. Our guitarist would have suffered as well. Needless to say, we felt miraculously saved. Had we stayed on stage a minute longer or returned a minute sooner, the lights would have fallen down right on top of us. The few-minute window after the soundcheck and before the show had quite possibly saved our lives.

We had to cancel the CD release party as it was impossible to continue with the show. But the people were very supportive and bought my CD anyway, so I spent the evening signing lots of CDs.

Although the concert didn't happen, everyone felt relieved to have escaped the potential tragedy.