Well, I’m happy to say that many of the people that were there last night I knew… A few friends that have never seen me sing live, as well as some friends I’ve recently performed with… I was even more surprised that two out of town and country-ers were able to see the performance, one who normally lives in the land down under, and the other who resides in Germany. Cool eh?
Last night because of limited backstage, I was asked to sit out front with the audience until being called up to perform…
Now, while this may sound like nothing to many of you… I can guarantee you, for most performers, it’s no small deal, as the life of a performer backstage before a show is really something of a comedy in itself…
I’m not sure what everyone else does, but frequent peeing, frequent running of lines or lyrics, checking over scripts, making sure one’s voice and body are warm and as limber as they’ll be… Weird noises and stretches… Funny games to try to relax… Maybe even some profanity and the flipping of the bird… Anything to shake the pre-show jitts.
Being asked to sit and wait in public, where many of our friends will want to interact and converse… Where people we don’t know will ask us questions or strike up conversations… That’s a challenge… And the bigger challenge can be listening to other rhythms and melodies while you sit silently… Especially when you’ve never seen the show before. Everyone else around you is escaping the world by watching what’s happening on stage, but the performer, we, have to be sharp… We’re working. And sometimes our nerves working us.
Why so nervous?
Well, I’m not entirely sure… But with many of these shows it’s a one performance dealio… Not only is the first time your seeing the other acts, or singers. But very often you’ve only just met the musicians once before, and you never got an actual tech rehearsal… Many times, like last night, you’ve learned new material just for the evening, and you’ve never had a chance to test it out. So, really, this one night you’ll be on stage will be your dress rehearsal, your preview, your opening night performance, your full run, and your closing night. It’s a bit insane if you really think about it. Most recitals have far more rehearsals… For many of us, we’ve run our music alone, in cars, at home, in the shower… Mp3 and CDs. Nerves.
I almost always forget my words, minutes from making my entrance… It’s almost become clockwork for me. Some times I can’t even remember the title of the first song I’m going to sing, or the first word I’m supposed to utter. I no longer panic about this, I simply realize it happens from time to time, and if I do glitch on stage… Panic or apologizing is the worst thing one can do, as for the most part most glitches will go unnoticed by the majority of the audience, and some will enviably think even the worst mess ups were canned and planned.
I know I’ve said it before, but being perfect is vastly overrated, and it’s one of the biggest problems with entertainment today… Don’t believe or agree? Don’t get me started on auto-tune and music corrections… But okay, which is funnier the SNL now where everyone is so afraid of messing up that many times you can watch them reading cue cards, OR the old SNL where they would mess up all the time? How about the Harvey Korman, who made a career of breaking out in laughs on camera?
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I used to ask, why would I go see someone play music if they’re only going to do what they did on the CD? But now I know… Because each and every performance is different, or should be slightly different, and we pay to see the humanity of the performers in front of us… That’s the excitement.
How’d my show go?
Well, if you were there I’d be asking you, or you’d be telling me… But from the feedback I got, it went great… I know that my six song-capsule felt great, and while I can be hard on myself and dwell on whatever possible not-perfect moments there might have been, I was extremely pleased, had a blast, would work with every musician again, and it was FUN!
Here’s a note that was publicly posted by the show’s director Clifford Bell this morning. I’m not sure it’s completely in line with this post, but I’m including it nonetheless.
“HERE’S WHY I DO WHAT I DO~ I love watching people musicalize themselves… As much as I love entertainment and art in general, it is specifically the medium of a person communicating who they are through song that I find endlessly fascinating…. Last night was very juicy example of that – in three completely different flavors…..I’ll go on record to say that I’m crazy for JANE KINSEY, I’ve known Jane, peripherally for many years, and have frequently asked her to guest in my cavalcade evenings of songs and she’s always been great, but it wasn’t until we actually sat down and started mapping out a vision, that I truly see what an abundant talent she is….a strong singer and a stronger comedian, she has that spark of a Bette Midler….Even though she’s been around doing good shows for a while, you’ve only just begun to see how really talented she is…..I so look forward to her full length show in the Spring!
And our new discovery TOM KIESCHE…relatively new to the live performing community Tom has made a name for himself with a web series called “The Closet Singer”….Sooo fascination for me to watch him find his way…A big, 6’5″ Hunky Straight guy, with a booming legit voice and a quirky, subversive sense of humor….He constructed his own 5 song set (with just one suggestion from me) and it was an extremely interesting alchemy of a conventionally gifted guy going waaaay out of his way to be seen as unconventionally unique… Me likee.
And RAY JESSEL is an international treasure…..”
– Quiche Out
PS. Here’s a classic sketch for you… Tell me how much better it’d be if Mister Korman played it “correctly” and didn’t crack. Though I’m sure they soon realized how much funnier many of the sketches were when he did bust, and he wasn’t reprimanded.