Well, as a real follow-up to my last basics blog on “trusting” your band, I am proud to announce that the gig I was so scared of, and so full of anticipation about was a rousing success! It was even beyond a success, as the folks, many of whom have now heard us at this particular function for the 4th time, said we were the best they had ever heard! I really suppose that the “magic” lied in the fact that we did go for the more spontaneous approach, and in fact, played many songs together for the first time…even un-rehearsed! Well, that is certainly what real trust is about in a band of musicians, because we all came through with such flying colors.
I will admit that my own apprehension and uncertainty about the gig made me doubt whether or not we were going to be good at all, and even felt that by the end we had not achieved our goal, but according to the audience, I was totally wrong! By the 10th or 11th song, we were totally rocking the house, and I’d say that 99.5% of the guests were all up dancing like crazy! It’s a great feeling when you get that kind of reaction, and it also felt great to keep “reading” the crowd, and to pace the show correctly, according to the move and the groove of the room. I’d estimate that there were about 150 people there, and the cheering and screaming for us was really “real”, and we loved getting that kind of reaction, for sure!
Perhaps the most lingering “lesson” in it for me was how well the “off the cuff” pacing of the show worked. I loved, as a band leader, being able to successfully do that. It’s many a musician who has tried and tried to come up with the right pace for a show, and it has always been a trying task for me, usually resulting in changing the song order right on the fly, as I am reading the reactions of the audience. This time I completely cast that decision process to the wind, and called out songs as they occurred to me, and many times, even called out tunes we had never done together, but that I felt were right for the moment. Another cool tip to get out of the experience was that while it was a “cocktail” hour, and when the people were standing outside, we were able to play softly, and use that time as a kind of “stealth” rehearsal. So while they were getting drinks and listening to us as “background music”, we were actually going over some tunes that we needed refreshing on that we later cranked up when they became “foreground music!”
So, in the end, you never really know what a gig may have in store for you, but more often than not, you should be able to turn any nerves or apprehension into true positive results! Here’s to many great gigs to come for all of us!