There is to be a show. I am to put one on. Less than a week to go. And here I am, interrupting my own preparation.
The first sketches are of setlists. Not all believe in such practices. I remain steadfast in my faith towards a preconceived order of tunes. Though, perhaps that is little more than the inflation of delusion. My own desire amplified and ground out by graphite on paper, only to be tossed away in at least some form when it all comes to be.
But I always need to figure out a few openers, lest I go out there artistically naked. I am, after all, insecure.
And with the scarcity of performance output, the anxiety regarding the matter seems to increase in the inverse correspondence. Out of shape, I suppose. Not alleviated by the lifestyle that comprises my days, these days. Full-time employed, single-dad schtick. There certainly isn’t a tour in the works.
Yet, in no way has the desire to exude my own tunes diminished. A two-hour gig will comprise of not more than a third of cover material. And thanks to the investigation associated with my current recording project, even those covers can be composed of works of peers. The unknown and underrealized bards, on par with myself.
Friends don’t let friends cover popular music.
I suppose it has to do with the soul of it. My music has never gained me great financial gain. It is not how I keep the lights on. And my performance has paid for little more than bar tabs. The pursuit has always been, and may always be, in terms of satisfaction of spirit. It must be done, I have no doubt, but it must be the I that does it. And pride may always keep the monetary mischief from ever imposing on what I do.
I certainly haven’t made a dime typing away here, despite the countless hours applied.
Yet, when the thought is upon a live performance, I do not blindly consider my own gratification in exclusivity. There will be a room (hopefully full, for the patron and myself) of people. Folks who invested enough to get up and out of whatever home they claim abode- which as of the last few years has becoming increasingly difficult. I would be all high and mighty, were I to lie about my own aversion to hiding away in my own cave.
So, I owe those folks. I owe them the best that I can do, and what best might mean is at least slightly derived from them. For those who have never fed off a crowd, I have pity. It is a very alive thing, being present in the room. For the experience to be unique within all four dimensions, is among the more superb a human may take part. You know this, for even if you have never been on stage, you have certainly been in the room when someone else was. You know if the room is alive, for it breathes into you.
And as romantic as that all is, if I go in unloaded, as out of practice as I am- disaster is likely to ensue. Misfortune in the arts is no stranger to your humble narrator. I have bombed in all that I have tried. Music. Stand-up. Theater. Broadcasting. Emceeing. I have tried them all and failed more than once at each. Having attempted and bombed at stand-up comedy, a decade or so ago- I can tell you there is no more exposed feeling in performance. It’s the dream of being in adolescence in your school in only underwear or less, actualized.
Yet, if the room connects, and the symbiotic relationship is at equilibrium, what a treat it is.
So, next Thursday, I’ll play music. Mostly of my own creation, for a two-hour minimum. At a venue that a friend is an owner of, so I hold a moral obligation to entice business. As we should all want our friends to succeed. So, I’ll play some tunes. Some of them being ones that some friends wrote.
And despite all that, I still managed to distract myself here, for a not insubstantial amount of time in an already fleeting evening.
But where the muse takes me, I go. Fickle, though she is.