After coming to more than her fair share of gigs she asked me if I ever got bored with performing the same songs over and over again. I said I didn’t and left it at that. But her question kept going round in my head, after all I must have played some of the songs up to a hundred times if I count practicing, recording and performing them. So after some thought I came up with four reasons not to go insane after singing a song a hundred times. Here they are:
Songs are organic. Each time I sing them they sound different. A song I sang five years ago won’t be the same as how I sing it now - the tempo or emotion in parts of the song may change or I will play the guitar in a different way, for example strum instead of finger pick.
During the performance I have to do a dozen things at once and the pressure is on when I play live. I have to remember the music and the words. I have to make sure that I come in at the right time with the band and that I know exactly where the breaks are and that I step on my effects pedals at the right time. On top of that I’m hoping the sound equipment is in tip-top shape otherwise I may have to deal with shouting to be heard or just not being heard at all. If I can manage all of that and pull off a decent show then I’m happy.
Before the performance there is the anticipation because I don’t know how the audience will react. If their conversations and cocktails are more important than whoever’s on stage then I will be reduced to background music – no better than a CD player. Or I may get an audience that likes what I’m doing and they listen and clap after every song and yell for more songs at the end of the set. When I get a gig like that it reminds me I’m on the right track and that there’s no need to throw in the towel yet.
The mission is to move people’s bodies and to move people’s emotions. When the band passes on its vibe a loop of energy bounces back between the audience and us. Sometimes the crowd is high-spirited and they’ll dance like demons. Or they may be reserved and I’ll only see one person in the corner tapping his foot or someone else at the backend of the bar secretly swaying her hips. Either way, it still means someone is getting the vibe – mission accomplished.
I hope that answers your question Caroline and I look forward to seeing you at my next acoustic gig.