Yesterday marked the fourth time that Lyndon Heart and I performed together via dual-stream at Molaskey's Pub in Second Life. The overall result was a massive amount of fun, but it took going through a few hoops of fire to get to that point.
I'll start by telling you that I was under the impression that Lyndon was to start the show at 6PM, followed by our performing together from 6:45-7:15, and ending with my solo show from 7:15 until 8:00. I'm not exactly sure why I believed this to be the case, but it was obviously wrong; due to his work schedule, it's impossible for Lyndon to even arrive at the venue by 6:00. So anyway, here was the result: instead of arriving at the venue as I usually do, with a good 20+ minutes to casually get ready for my show, I sauntered in at 5:58, expecting to hear Lyndon starting his set. Instead, I was greeted by a nervous Maali Beck (my manager), who had been wondering where I was.
But wait; it gets better. A few seconds later, I was in a near panic, trying to get everything setup and ready in the next two minutes. At the same time, I was wondering where the hell everyone was; only Maali, me, and one fan were present. Turns out the others were all in the place where the show was supposed to be, which was on the Molaskey's Ice Skating Rink rather than their beach stage, meaning I had to pick up the stuff I'd laid out and once again get my stage ready in another location. At this point, it would probably help to explain what "getting set up" means for an SL musician, especially for a dual-stream show like Lyndon and I do together.
Here's the short version: first, you need to get your avatar self to the location of the venue. Fine. Next, I usually get my SL situation squared away, which involves putting on a guitar and throwing down my tip jar. Assuming SL is functioning correctly (cough), this is pretty easy, but of course, you need to make sure you have the proper group tag that will allow you to rez items on the property. Hopefully you've squared that away well in advance of your show. Also, you need to work out which stream is going to be used. At various places, I either use my own (meaning I need to confirm that the venue owner has this info) or use the venue's (in which case I need to make sure it's properly set up in my broadcasting software).
Next comes my real life setup. I place a music stand near my computer with sheets and sheets of lyrics for the songs I'll be performing. Again, if you're well prepared, you've already pulled out your lyrics and have put them in order of a set list. Next, I put out two microphones (one for my guitar, and another for my vocals). After getting my avatar positioned onstage in SL, I then put on my real-life guitar, and start up my broadcast software. At that point, I'm ready to play.
And yes, that was the short version, and I didn't even include the time spent before all that in warming up one's voice and instrument.
In a dual-stream show, there's a whole other batch of activities... you have to get the stream address of your fellow performer, get it plugged into iTunes, route the signal through your mixer, set the levels, and so on. Now, when you're familiar with this process as I am, it can all be done in a few minutes. However, most musicians I know really prefer not being rushed through their setup process, no matter what the performance environment is.
So, in a long-winded way, that's why I spent my first few songs at Molaskey's being about as discombobulated as I've ever been at the beginning of a show in SL. Still, as soon as we got underway, things went just fine, as they tend to do. Look, I love playing live music, warts and all. As a live performer, if you expect things to be smooth sailing 100% of the time, I have some swampland in Florida you may be interested in purchasing. It's just not realistic to think that with all the technical setup and logistic issues, everything will go exactly as you want it each time you get onstage. I'm fortunate in that 90% of the time, I don't run into any of these problems.
TOP: Lyndon and I get to rocking. PIC 2: During my set at Molaskey's after overcoming the insanity. PIC 3: People seem to be having fun on Molaskey's ice rink. PIC 4: My Kat enjoying a sweet treat. Photos by Kat.
Back to the show. Once I got rolling, things switched from "stress mode" to "fun mode" relatively easily. I pulled out a few songs that were seasonally appropriate, and I really enjoyed the stuff that Lyndon chose for us to do together.
Molaskey's Set List...
†Do They Know It's Christmas? (Band Aid)
††Long December (Counting Crows)
Every Day I Write the Book (Elvis Costello)
Jane (Barenaked Ladies)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Look Out for Me (Zak Claxton)
Big Bad Bill (Van Halen)
*Teach Your Children (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)
*Stuck in the Middle with You (Stealer's Wheel)
For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
*Oh, Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
*The Joker (Steve Miller)
*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.
†Last performance of "DTKIC?": 12/09/09.
††Last performance of "Long December": 12/20/10, at Molaskey's.
Massive thanks to everyone who came out to Molaskey's and rocked with Lyndon and me!