It happens to me rarely, but I just wasn’t feeling it at Friday night’s gig. I generally did a good job, but I just didn’t have the passion that I normally have. I hate when that happens because try as I might, I just couldn’t get inspired. But when it does, I just tell myself to get through it, get done, then get out.
Things didn’t start out well. I forgot to bring my harmonizer unit; the bag in which it’s carried also contained my stage mic. So I had to use an old SM58 from the restaurant that is long past its prime. Without my harmonizer, I lost the ability to compress my vocals (I compress very minimally, but some compression adds some oomph), and that combined with the lifeless mic, just didn’t sound quite right. Then on top of that, the brand-new singing waiters weren’t prepared with their music (read: they didn’t bring any), so they kept on trying to cherry-pick from my repertoire, which the experienced ones know irritates the shit out of me. Then during one number with one of the newbies, my mic muted for some reason, so we had to stop the song. If that wasn’t bad enough, the girl’s family was there, and her obnoxious father came up and said, “What do I have to do?” and started reaching for the mic cord.
Already having a bad day, and already annoyed with the singer for not being prepared, I said rather sharply, “Nothing. Please keep your hands off my gear and sit down.” The saving grace came from a couple of faithful fans that come to the restaurant regularly to listen to me play, and I was able to sit and have drinks with them on breaks to calm down. But despite that, the night was a wash. I shared my lack of passion with one table (only saying I wasn’t feeling it that night), and they said that they couldn’t tell. And that brings to the crux of this article.
It happens sometimes. I’ve been performing for over 40 years, and despite that, sometimes you just don’t feel it. When that happens to me, I follow my three G’s:
- Get through it
- Get done
- Get Outta there
The Three G’s mean nothing more than to execute the performance; you know, “the show must go on.” A long time ago, I was a dancer, and I’ve gone through this. My artistic director just told me, “Just remember focus on your dancing. Remember, you’re dancing for them <pointing to the audience>.” It’s not fun being in a funk during a performance, but I’ll still muddle through it. I may not make as many tips as I normally would (people can key into your energy or lack thereof), but I still muddle through it. And with The Three G’s, I also remember that I’m not just performing because I get paid to perform. I do it because I love to gig. That helps me a lot, and remembering that sometimes breaks me out of the funk.
At Friday’s gig, nothing could get me out of my funk. But I just told myself to get through it. I’ve had better gigs in the past, and I’ll have better gigs in the future…