Even in the best of times, this period between Thanksgiving and New Year's is pretty hectic. But in this era that exemplifies the supposed Chinese curse of "May you live in interesting times," each time I look at the news is fraught with peril. What insane thing will my country's leaders do or say? Which beloved public figure will turn out to be accused of sexual harassment? What natural disaster will befall some area of the world? Where was the latest mass shooting?
It's enough to drive some people mad. I genuinely think that the people like me who perform live music have a more important role in this era on this crazy planet than we ever did before. The fact is, no matter whether it's a real life or virtual or other environment, music can pull people away from the focus of their stress for a little while. Music, as they say, soothes the savage beast. There's no direct evidence of this specifically, but imagine a person who is at the end of their rope, and could snap any second. Maybe they listen to a little Zak Claxton music and decide to put down the gun, or step away from the ledge. It's not impossible to consider this as a realistic possibility. From my position on the stage, I can't tell what's going through my audience's respective heads; I'm busy trying to play guitar and sing. But people have told me in the past that my music helped them through a rough time in their lives. It's a good feeling, and perhaps now more than ever, the simple act of putting on my guitar and stepping up to a mic might have a greater impact than at any previous time in my life.
Therefore, when I have a really good show like the one I did last night at The Islands of New England in Second Life, there's all the more a feeling of satisfaction when it's done and I'm turning off my audio stream. We can all enjoy music for music's sake alone, but we can also be aware that some people have it worse than others, or are going through a temporary but difficult time, and for those folks, music may be the one thing between themselves and despair.
We had a great crowd of enthusiastic folks who seemed to be enjoying the show, which is good. I managed to put together a pretty cool set list that combined songs from several eras and genres, and fortunately, my voice and guitar were both behaving to an acceptable level.
The Islands of New England set list...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Wildflowers (Tom Petty)
Bang and Blame (R.E.M.)
Learning to Fly (Pink Floyd)
Same Sun (Real Estate)
I’ve Been Waiting for You (Neil Young)
Is She Really Going Out with Him? (Joe Jackson)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Words (Missing Persons)
Half Moon Bay (Sun Kil Moon)
Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo)
Massive thanks to everyone who came out to the show, and special extra thanks to the following who helped support it!
RansomTalmidge Resident, Stratus Mactavish, dstauffsl2 Resident, Sommer Shepherd, Radslns Hutchence, RoxxyyRoller Resident, Kiss Moonites, Caruso Hunniton, Aurelie Chenaux, Jeanne Schimmer, KB Byk, Tippy Wingtips, Old Bailey, Kat Claxton, TheaDee Resident, my lovely manager Maali beck, and the fantastic events manager of The Islands of New England, Christine Haiku!