Rocking and laughing is a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. Trust me, it's true. Photo by Triana Caldera.
Some musicians describe performing live music like a drug, and they might not be far from the literal truth. Think about it this way: you get an adrenaline rush from singing and/or playing your instrument in front of a crowd. Playing music is a physical activity, so you get a similar endorphin rush as a distance runner. And finally, I'm pretty sure your brain starts pumping out neurotransmitters like serotonin, creating those lovely sensations of well-being while you play.
So, even for we musicians who don't turn to external drugs while we play live, our bodies are creating their own euphoric experience. And, like pretty much any drug experience, it's quite easy to get addicted to playing live. I should know; I started when I was in middle school and have kept doing it in many forms for the past 35 years or so. I was hooked after my first taste of applause.
My performances in Second Life, especially at places like The Islands of New England, invoke the same sensations that I've had many times playing in the flesh in front of a live audience in clubs, theaters, parties, festivals, and more. While an SL show has a different dynamic than a real-life gig, the artist is still there, combining his or her talent and ability to connect with an audience, regardless of the fact that the crowd members are often thousands of physical miles away. This is especially true at a venue like TIONE, where people seem to really have an appreciation for well-performed tunes. Last night's show there was, as always, a blast both for me and the people who listen to my insanity and who apparently enjoy my music. I have never once had a bad show there, and I probably never will. I'd also like to add that my great friend Lyndon Heart had the slot directly after mine, and it's always a terrific pleasure to hear him masterfully do his stuff.
The Islands of New England has been where some of my best shows in any world have happened. Photo by Triana.
My Set List Secret
Here's another thing I want to share about my shows. In one hour, I can almost always count on being able to fit in either 12 or 13 songs. previous to my show, when I'm putting together a set list, I never pull out exactly that amount. Instead, I usually grab 16-17 songs, and then adjust my set as the gig goes on based on a couple of factors: a) how I'm feeling at that moment and b) what I think particular members of the audience might like to hear. One of the greatest aspects of SL music is the ability to get to know your audience members way better than the random folks who might happen to be at a bar one night that you're performing there.
In addition to the original songs that I do (and those of my band They Stole My Crayon), I always make sure to pull out songs that span a few areas: emotional vibe, year of release, genre, and so on. That way, as the show goes on and my mood changes (usually for the better, per above), I have tunes available that will fit my state of mind, and also be able to whip out certain songs based on who I see in the crowd. Especially because I do not take requests, it's a nice way to try and thank the people for their presence. If I see a person who I know likes a particular artist, I'll proactively perform that song for that person. Of course, doing it this way, I get to the end of the show and have songs left over. I just save those for top choices at the next gig. It all works pretty well.
TIONE set list...
1979 (Smashing Pumpkins)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Pretty Pimpin (Kurt Vile)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
Everyday I Write the Book (Elvis Costello)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
My Hero (Foo Fighters)
Underwater Underground (They Stole My Crayon)
Heart of Gold (Neil Young)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)
Huge thanks to everyone who came out to the show, including the following who helped support it!
Richy Nervous, Triana Caldera, Lyndon Heart, RoxxyyRoller Resident, Sesh Kamachi, Brookelyn Breen, Sommer Shepherd, Aurelie Chenaux, RansomTalmidge Resident, my great manager Maali Beck, and TIONE's lovely events manager Christine Haiku!