Like most things in life, there can be a lot more to performing live music than is apparent on the surface. When you're in the audience watching someone play their instrument and sing, you think, "Wow, that person is so lucky, up there doing what they love and having fun."
Well, it is fun, or at least it should be fun. But while you see that person jumping around the stage and rocking out, here are some things that might be on his or her mind.
"Damn, my hand is cramping. Am I going to make it through the song?"
"Shit. Did I just sing the second verse first? Oh hell, I did. Should I now do the first verse second?"
"Wait... was that my amp making that crackling noise?"
"I knew should have changed strings before this set."
"Did I leave my headlights on?"
And so on. But the challenge, no matter what else is going on, is to stay in the moment and perform to the best of your abilities, regardless of what else is happening around you. I went into my show at the Islands of New England in Second Life yesterday evening after a hell of a day. But ultimately, once you decide to strap on the guitar and step in front of a microphone, you shouldn't treat your audience as your therapist. In fact, the very best therapy to change your rotten mood is to focus on your show, and leave the other stuff behind. Hey, you'll have plenty of time to be a miserable bastard later.
A top-down look at the stage at the Islands of New England. Photo and top photo by Kat.
My view of you. Photo by Kat.
All that having been said, the show at New England was really great, mostly due to the fun group of people who had assembled as my audience du jour. Unlike recent shows, I didn't pullout any brand new tunes. I'd intended to, but the aforementioned Week from Hell kind of precluded any possibility of my having time to choose and practice tunes to the point I'd feel okay about throwing them at an unsuspecting crowd. Despite that, it was a fun one, and I did pull out a few tunes that I hadn't played in ages.
Islands of New England Set List...
If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Losing My Religion (R.E.M.)
Thank You (Led Zeppelin)
Shine (Zak Claxton)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Don't Let It bring You Down (Neil Young)
Walk On the Wild Side (Lou Reed)
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
Thanks so much to everyone at IONE who helped me get in a much better mood, especially those who supported my show!
Richy Nervous, cellenia1, Benjalina, Triana Caldera, Sesh Kamachi, Diana Renoir, Jukebox Diesel, Bonnie Revnik, Kat Claxton, and IONE's lovely music manager and host, Christine Haiku!