I often wondered, when I was a young man going to concert, what it took for the huge bands I saw to get the crowd going. Everything seemed magic: the music was great, the performance was energetic, the sound was impeccable and the crowd, oh Man! the crowd was with them heart and soul. We were on our feet, lapping it up, completely absorbed by the experience.
But, how did they do it?
Well, now that I am on stage singing and directing a band, and trying to get people on our boat, I can tell you that it is not an easy task. The hardest part is keeping them under the charm. Once we have people’s attention (and that part is already a challenge), we have to be very careful.
For example, the crowd cannot get to us.
Let’s suppose that people really are into what we are doing. And we throw a high energy number and they go crazy and start singing along and dancing and having an incredibly great time. Well,good for us! But now we need to have some discipline and stay the course. The singer cannot start screeching and hollering, the drummer can’t beat the drums loud and bash his way through the songs, the guitar player can’t actually go to eleven. A lot of the music has to remain the same: controlled, precise, harmonious. If people see that you are trying too hard, they might cool down and live you with your mess. Ouch!
One of the key is to trust the person in your band that reads the crowd the best. In the little family band I am part of, my daughter is that person. She sees what my son and I do not perceive. And she’s building very fast, a lot of tools to sharpen those senses. That’s why, on stage, she’s the leader of the band. She’s the electrical conductor between us and the people we perform for. I admire her for that. And I also know that if she keeps developing those tools, she will have a job for life: we need musicians that are entertainers.