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Saturday, January 08, 2005

All Gigs Are Big Gigs

How important is an audience? When you don't have much of one or they just don't seem to be paying attention, you have to pretend they are. It's that important. I had a big one last night but we couldn't see each other. Complicated to explain the layout at Althea's last night but I was told to set up around the corner from most of the people who ate outside last night. That part of the canopy didn't fill up. It rarely does. This new location leaves a lot to be desired. I have to give it time to see if it improves before I assert myself and ask for a change.

Livingston Taylor's brilliant little handbook on performance puts contact with the audience as the most important thing you do. So in odd situations like this one, the best thing to do is pretend. The worst thing to do is perform like nobody is listening. My regular fans walked right past my tip jar which is in full sight and easy proximity, because I was now 14 feet away from it. One of them walked right up to me and gave me a tip personally. The tip is an important part of feedback. Many people who don't tip and even stiff their waitresses, still offer words of praise and encouragement. That's just as good as money in my book. But they are not going to walk 14 feet out of their way to do that. Still if my role is to just provide mellow background music, I'll accept it and be grateful I have a steady gig. Pretending I'm playing a crowded hall is a valuable mental workout. To paraphrase somebody, there's no such thing as small performers, just small venues. Treat them like they're bigger venues and bigger things will happen.

posted by Bud @ 9:05 AM

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