Two nights ago I had the pleasure of performing in Lancaster’s Trust Performing Arts Center for the It Was Good Book Launch. It was a beautiful hall with an arched ceiling, marble walls, and a grand piano in the center of it all. It was one of those rooms that, when you walk into it, you feel different. You feel like something special is about to happen because only special things happen there.
I’m a temperamental musician. In fact, most times I really don’t like calling myself a musician simply for that fact. When i don’t feel at home in a space, I don’t perform well. When there’s a coffee grinder whirring in the background my performance is terrible. When people are talking, during a song, I suddenly can’t remember lyrics. It’s a mess. Often times I feel like every show is a gamble…especially when I’m not familiar with the space. My set could go so many ways and its all dependent on the room and how it influences those who are in it. So when I walked into the Trust Performing Arts Center on Friday afternoon for soundcheck, I was more than just excited for that evening’s show.
If you’re an artist you know what I mean. After playing out for a while, you get used to people not paying attention to you. In fact, you’re spending alot of time in front of people, but half of the time, they act like you’re not there. It’s a very unsettling feeling because you can’t make someone care; they have to do that on their own. So when someone actually does care…when everyone cares you feel completely spoiled. Spoiled by the fact that you can actually share the songs, why they were necessary to write, and then talk to people afterwards about what those songs mean to them. It’s a conversation, an exchange, a genuine connection that can only happen when people actually care and want to listen.
And for some reason, when the audience cares, you suddenly care so much more. And ultimately the level and quality of evening is so much higher because everyone is on the same page.