Last night I was back at the Sail Inn for my second performance. It went well, didn't mess up (that anyone could really tell), had a few requests and in general it was a fun time. Playing live is really great and being able to see people interacting and enjoying your music makes it a bit different than when performing in Second Life. There are advantages in Second life, such as the audience being able to type out exactly what they're thinking so that you know exactly how they feel. In the real world, you need to look for smiling, or hand clapping, or if all falls into place, dancing.
People have been asking me if I get nervous and I honestly can say no. After doing over 500 shows in Second Life, performing now in front of real live people is not that much different. It's been the same format that I have been doing for over a year, an hour show of acoustic covers and originals. The only thing I might have been nervous about was how I would sound through a PA system. In Second Life, I connect to my mixer and plug right into the computer. I don't use headphones, rather I just do a few test runs to check for levels, and then I sing into the mic! only hearing my voice and guitar as anyone would hear it sitting in the room with me, unamplified and untouched by effects. In Second Life, people hear that with just a touch of reverb added in by my computer. So no, no nervousness really.
What DOES make me nervous? Tonight's show. Tonight I stand before a band of 40-some children and teenagers, their parents behind us, waiting anxiously for the first note to play as I count them off. Why does THIS make me nervous in ways my own solo shows do not? Simple. I am not in total control of what happens. I'm the director, yes, but in the end, it is up tk that kid to play that note at that time with the right rhythm and right tone. If he does, great, if he doesn't? Well, we all beat him up after the concert and humiliate him, of course. No no no, come on. Even if they mess up, it's fine. They're KIDS.
In fact, this nervousness led me to create my infamous SPEECH. Every concert I do with a band, I look at them right before we start and I tell them, "Look, no matter how much you mess up here, no matter how many wrong notes you play, or rhythms you mess up, or if you go too fast or slow, I still like all of you... (And then I point to a random kid) except for you," Everyone laughs and I say I'm kidding and they can just relax slightly ever more, and then we begin. It's something I've done for each show over the last 13-14 years. It relaxes them, takes away their nervousness for a moment, as well as mine, and reminds them, let's just do what we do and have a little fun making music.
So nervousness? Yeah, a little right now as I await the students arrival... A tad bit as I hope that everyone shows up (it's always a possibility that some won't due to priorities certain families place on different things)... A slight missed heartbeat as I think of a student that will show up dressed inappropriately and asked to go change because we did in fact send a letter stating what is acceptable and non-acceptable concert attire. Again, all of this, out of my own control, and all of which will fade in a few minutes as the students start to enter the room, ready to go, pushing down their own feelings of nervousness. I smile and try to exude confidence to them. They take a breath, and now...