Tonight we went to a place called Avagadros. Even though it looked small on the outside, the inside was huge. Skyler and I arrived first, and then Nolan came about an hour later. The way that this open mic worked was similar to a raffle. Instead of showing up and signing up on the "who goes next" list, we all pulled a number out of a hat. The numbers ranged from 1-12 (or so).Whoever pulled "1", got to pick his or her time slot first. They got to pick if they wanted to perform first, middle last, second, second to last, etc. Then "2" would draw from the hat, and then so on and so forth. Assumedly, "1" would pick to go first, "2" would pick to go second, etc. Thank the Lord that Skyler and I and Nolan happened to pick 2, 3 and 4. When I went up, I played two songs. I played one that I have consistently played all tour, and one that I have not touched in weeks (if not months). Thankfully, I didn't mess up at all! After, I went to sit down and watched everybody else perform.
One thing that I have learned while on tour (or specifically tonight), is that one's emotional state (specifically mine) can be like a rollercoaster. Although playing my original music for people is enthralling to me, it also throws me into a mild state of desolation. This is how I would best describe my emotional state on the average night of performing:
Nervousness - Anticipation of performance
Anxiety/Excitement - Anticipation of performance
Nervousness/Anxiety/Excitement - Anticipation of performance
Immediate Regret/ "What the [insert] am I about to do" - As I walk up on the stage
Slow Onset of Sense of Calmness - As I start to play
Joy - As I play
Assurance - As I play
Embarrassment - As they applaud
Self - Conscious - As I walk off of the stage
Sadness/ Depressive Mindset - As I sit in my seat for the next half hour or so
Acceptance/ Sense of Calmness - As I realize that I actually did fine (Depending on if I really did, or didn't do well)
Until this Winter Tour, I was not fully aware of the last chunk of feelings even existed. I mean, I had experienced them before, but I would shrug it off. I would say that these feelings stem from how I view the audience. As you perform, and look out into the audience, the audience does not realize that their faces look stoic and uninterested . And that's completely fine, because they are not obligated to like it. It just puts my mind in a whirlwind of self-doubt when strangers look bored or borderline disgusted when you're performing personal memoirs from the heart.
It's a weird dichotomy though: I really do love to perform in front of strangers, because their reactions are pure. They have never heard you, and you know that their faces are genuine, because they really aren't concerned with putting on a face because they know or love you. At the same time, there is a discouragement that overtakes me (out of my control) when their eyebrows are raised as if saying, "Are you done yet?"
Once they applaud, I walk back to my seat, and sit in silence. I think to myself, "What could you have done better? Were you loud enough? Were your vowels too open? You were so flat on that note."
When performing classically, or even doing a cover, I don't really have the strain of thoughts that are mentioned in the previous paragraph. That is because when singing or playing pieces that others wrote, it is not about you. You are simply a vessel that is giving said art to the world. In the cases of original compositions, I find it different because not only am I the vessel, but I am the actual composer.
When all is said and done, though, I start to view my performance in a completely different light. I play it through my head as if I were on the stage again, and I ask myself, "Did you do the best you could, and was that a great performance?" Usually, I can agree that I did to a good job, and that I did it well.
The rest of the night consisted of other guitarists who did AMAZING! Then Skyler and I headed back to Chris's place, and we called it a day. Today, was an alright day.