Something I've noted time and time again over the past 10 years of performing live music in Second Life: when I least expect to have a great show is almost certainly when those great shows will happen. Take yesterday's show, my debut at Heart's Desire, as a perfect example.
I didn't have a bad day, but I did have an insanely busy day leading into that evening. Multiple business meetings, deadlines to accomplish, and everything else that was the extreme opposite of how people think a rock star spends his or her day. It certainly didn't give me much time to focus on my music, or even to plan a good set list. I barely had time to set up my gear and properly warm up before the show. Additionally, it was the first time I was going to perform at this venue, and there have been wildly unpredictable results in those situations. I never know how many of my friends/fans will be around in SL at any given day/time, or who want to hang out at some place they may not have heard of or visited previously. And then, there's my own degree of... I won't call it "stage fright", but there's a higher level of anxiety when one performs for new people at a new place. Will they like what I do? It's a subjective experience, live music, and you never really know if you're the right performer in the right venue until you start that first song.
So, you'd think the best I could have hoped for under those circumstances was a decent show where I played adequately and we got a few people there, and I'd have been fine with that. However, that's not what happened. Instead, unexpectedly, my guitar and voice both chose to cooperate with what I wanted them to do, the venue (the place itself and the people running it) was fantastic, and we had a really great crowd made up of Zaksters and new folks alike, and everyone really seemed to dig what I was doing. It's hard to measure these things tangibly, but I felt like it was one of my best shows of 2016.
Seeing a buttload of Zaksters in the crowd probably contributed to my having a good show at Heart's Desire. Photo by Triana Caldera.
Side note: the way I ended up performing there was pretty cool, and it was a story I related during the show. During September's Twin Cities SL Jam, I met a number of folks who I hadn't previously encountered in real life. One of them was Cryptic Harmony, a singer whose name I'd heard quite a bit but hadn't really gotten to know. We chatted during the Jam, and she told me that she helped book talent for a venue. I told her that I was always up for playing places in SL where I hadn't been before, and to connect with my manager Maali Beck. When Heart's Desire appeared on my schedule, I hadn't made the connection that this was the place that Cryppy was referring to in our talk at the Jam, so it was a fun surprise to put two and two together when I took a closer look at the contract.
I should add that the venue owner Spence Corwin seemed to be a super nice guy, the venue staff was totally organized, and the folks who were hanging out there were cool and receptive to the music I was playing. I honestly can't ask for anything other than that when I do any show in SL... or anywhere, for that matter.
Heart's Desire set list...
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Carey (Joni Mitchell)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Big Empty (Stone Temple Pilots)
Things Under Trees (They Stole My Crayon)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Pancho & Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
Cat’s In the Cradle (Harry Chapin)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
Gigantic thanks to all who came out to Heart's Desire for my debut... especially the following who helped support the show!
Shagwire Praga, crypticbabe Resident, RoxxyyRoller Resident, SpenceCorwin Resident, RansomTalmidge Resident, Christine Haiku, scottlara Resident, not4gods Resident, Triana Caldera, Sesh Kamachi, Aurelie Chenaux, TheaDee Resident, ElusiveButterfly Ember, my manager Maali Beck, and all the great folks who run Heart's Desire! Can't wait until next time!