Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh What A Night!

Surreal is the word I would use to describe it.  Here I am standing on, I guess you can call it a stage, guitar in my hands, microphone in front of my lips and about 15-20 people staring at me.  "Hello everyone, I haven't done this in fifteen years." That is how I introduce myself, but it feels good.  My knees feel like they could buckle at any time and my hands were a bit shaky, but I was determined to persevere.

To calm the nerves I decided to go with my old reliable Poison medley consisting of lesser known Theater of My Soul, and mega hits Every Rose Has It's Thorn and Something to Believe In.  The crowd was a bit confused at the beginning as I strummed through the first verse of Theater of My Soul, but that is to be expected when you start a medley with the song nobody knows.  Once I began Every Rose people seemed to get in the groove, and by the time I got to the opening of Something To Believe In I even heard a cheer! When I finished the Poison medley, my nerves for the most part gone, I was given a nice amount of applause.  It feel good, it felt euphoric, it felt like I was king of the world... at least for a couple seconds before I remembered that the hard part was next.

My buddy Mike has been trying to get me to come out to the open jam for about a month now, but things always come up and I am unable to commit.  He approached me earlier this week about going and I decided I should give it serious consideration.  I was not booked for Sunday, so it was the perfect opportunity.  The boys went down about 7:30pm after a fun day at Nana and Grandpa H's place, so with the wife's blessing I called up Mike and let him know I was in.  We got there at about 8:30pm and sat down at a table.  I ordered a cheeseburger and a water and listened to others as they went up and did their thing.  It looked fun, hell it looked awesome, but I wasn't sure I was ready to do what they were doing.  It had been fifteen years since the last time I played in front of people, and at that time there were four other guys playing along with me.  This time I would be on my own.  As the last of the musicians ran through their sets I asked myself what the heck am I waiting for? Nobody there knew who I was, so if I stunk it up what difference did it make? I went and talked to the lady in charge and asked permission to use the guitar on stage.  She put my name down and I waited my turn.  I quickly ran to the bathroom to make sure I took care of that before getting up on the stage (we don't want any accidents in public).  Finally, I was called.

After the nice reception for my Poison medley I was faced with the decision to go ahead and play the song I wrote in memory of my brother (entitled Brother), or go to another old reliable.  I had never really played the song in front of people, or all the way through for that matter (the joys of electronic recording allowed my to lay down the verse track and the chorus tracks separately and splice it all together afterward).  I made the decision to go for it.  It was a rough go at first, but I started getting in a groove and made it all the way through to the end.  There were hiccups along the way, but nobody held it against me.  I had done what I wanted to do and I felt pretty good about it.  I slowly walked back to my seat to finish the night listening to the band play a few songs.  It was about 9:30 and my wife texted to let me know she was going to bed.  I told her I played with as much excitement as a text message can convey, and smiled when she responded back with a text that summed it up... "Awesome."  And it was.

I hope to go back more often to play, and I hope to drag Mike up there with me too.  It was a huge milestone for me and let me know that I could do this if I wanted to.  I am already trying to decide which songs to play the next time I show up.  I think I have a good idea of the three songs I would like to do, so in an undetermined but hopefully short amount of time I will be back on that stage playing and singing to strangers and fueling my inner rock star.

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