Playing tons of live shows is surely every musician’s ultimate, if not only, dream. Whether it is to entertain thousands, hundreds or even twenty ardent fans, all we want to do is just to share our music, especially unreleased materials, and get ourselves out there – to be heard by the mass and hopefully scouted by various groups of people who earnestly appreciate our talents and intricate crafts as we strive to add value to enrich the creative arts industry.
While it is totally understandable that we spent hundreds of hours rehearsing and squeezing every ounce of our creativity to constantly outdo ourselves in producing pieces of music that would wow and be appreciated by our audience, in this entry, I will share about what goes into my personal preparations on the actual show day in the local home gig circuit, approximately 5 hours into showtime.
3:00 PM: EAT EARLY
I usually have a proper meal roughly between four and five hours before showtime to give enough time for my food to be properly digested. Previously, I used to have meals about ninety minutes prior to showtime and that grievous mistake resulted in me feeling bloated plus leaving me to perform a little uncomfortably and sluggishly throughout the entire show.
4:00 PM: FINAL INSTRUMENT CHECK
If you are the type who usually forgets and heavily dependent on a checklist, this is the time for you to run through that list and confirm all the equipment that you would need for the show.
Sometimes, whether you wanna call it a panic attack or simply being overly excited, there could be just about a million things running through our minds to the point that we forget to execute the important ones.
For me, this is when I make sure that my snare is tuned to my desired pitch, if I have enough pair of drumsticks to last the entire show, if my tuning key is in place and so on and so forth.
Whenever I have extra time to spare, I would take a nap to allow for both my body and mind to relax.
5:00 PM: FRESHEN UP & UPDATE ALL SOCIAL MEDIA STATUS
Staying fresh all the time is pretty essential for me so getting into the shower right after the nap definitely helps to revive me.
While snacking and making sure I constantly stay hydrated, I would normally take advantage of this slack time to post updates, engage with and remind the fans about the show across all the social media platforms.
6:00 PM: HEAD TO THE VENUE
Unless I am chauffeured around and strictly sticking to a schedule set by a host or an organizer, I love to drive myself to the venue early hoping not to be caught in the traffic.
If anything, say if the car breaks down or something, I would still have enough time to cry out for help or catch a cab, if necessary.
7:00 PM: AT THE VENUE
Making it early to the show gives you ample time to chill and hang around. While supporting and cheering for all the other acts, I take the opportunity to have a feel of the crowd as well as the overall vibe of the venue. It would also be a good time to quickly say hi to the person in charge of the sound, if I have not already done so during the initial sound check, and briefly get his (or her) feedback about the show and sound system, keeping in mind that I should never hog around his workstation and be a complete nuisance. He has a show to run so chatting the night away with me while the show is running is definitely not listed on his job sheet.
While enjoying the show, this would also be the best time to connect and catch up with fellow musicians and friends who came to support and watch you play. Network for future collaborations or shows if there is room to discuss that. Talk to as many people as you can. You just don’t know who you might be talking to, maybe some people who can launch you to the next level. Who knows?
Closer to show time when my band comes together for our final check and to mentally run through our setlist, I would warm up, about fifteen minutes before time, just so to get the limbs going. There were times I skipped this and paid the price after only five minutes of being in action. Continuing to play throughout the entire set feeling stiff was torturous and almost disastrous.
Lastly, I would usually take a sip or two before hitting the stage – again, to keep myself sufficiently hydrated. And most importantly, I always take a bottle of drinking water on stage with me.
8:00 PM: PERFORM A HELLUVA SHOW
You are there to entertain. Whether or not they paid to catch you live, your audience certainly came expecting the very best of you and this is your best chance to prove and show them why they must keep supporting and frequent your future shows. If you want them to stay and earn their respect, give your all and never ever shortchange them for a lackluster performance.