I’ve been playing at the same restaurant gig for almost ten years every Friday. This is a long gig from 6pm to 10pm. Last week, I was talking to a friend who asked me how I can play such long sets; and several times over the years, people have asked me how I can play four-hour gigs with just a single 10- to 15-minute rest period in between sets.
The answer I give comes in two parts: First, I simply lose track of time. I just love to play and perform, and I start jumping from song to song, not ever keeping an eye on the clock. The second part of the answer is that I’ve got good posture; and it’s something I constantly monitor.
Having good posture; that is, a straight back, ensures that your entire bone structure is being used to support your body. This in turn ensures that your weight isn’t isolated to just a single or a couple of spots.
Look at the pictures of Eric Clapton and Joe Satriani. You think it’s an accident that their backs are straight? Joe being a guitar teacher is probably acutely aware of his posture. Not sure about Clapton, but I put him up there simply because of his longevity. Both of these guys have done monster gigs over the years. It’s not a wonder to me that they’ve been able to perform as long as they have. Their great posture ensures that the wear and tear on their backs will be minimal at worst.
Another thing that I’ve learned over my many years of gigging is to always wear a great pair of shoes. This has become much more important over the last few years, but I’ve always had a thing about wearing comfortable shoes that provide lots of great support. My rule of thumb: Great shoes make for happy feet, and happy feet mean that you don’t get tired as quickly.
As of late, my shoes of choice have been the “Unstructured” line from Clarks. I’ve got the pair to the left, but I also have two other pairs. I absolutely swear by these shoes. They feel so comfortable on my feet, and I can literally stand for hours at a time, and my feet will be happy.
So do yourself a favor: Be aware of your posture and your feet and you’ll be in gig nirvana!