Once you have rehearsed and prepared your performance, you’re just about ready to go on stage. Just about.
Because there is something else that needs to be addressed: don’t let the crowd get to you. Yes, we are finally coming to the title of this series of blogs.
Let’s look at the wrong script.
You go on stage, you do your thing. The crowd gets into it. They really follow you everywhere you go. They get your moves, your facial expressions, your jokes, your lyrics, your moods. You have them eating in the palm of your hand. They start singing along, standing up if they were sitting down, they dance, they clap their hands, they cheer during the songs, they make noise. In one word: this party is cooking hot!
And here is the danger: you get into the party the crowd is setting up. You stop being in control. All of the sudden, you laugh at your own jokes, you make mistakes in the songs, you jump wildly on a set of speakers and make them fall, you crowd-dive into an empty spot, you say the wrong thing into the microphone. Take your pick. You are out of control. The crowd got to you.
And your performance is in danger. Because your antics might be received with a warm welcome, but it is also possible, very possible that you lose the audience. For example? If you blow up your amps, there’s no more music coming out. Another example? You insult the audience when you improvise a political line. It has happened a thousand time. It will happen again.
Stay in control. You started the party, great! Congratulations! Keep it going on your term, with what you prepared. Not what the crowd, the wild crowd, is dictating you should do.
A fantastic example on how to manage it all would be David Lee Roth of Van Halen. He is as wild as can be, he’s jumping, he’s running, he’s throwing one liners, he’s having the time of his life. But he is in charge. The party centers around him. And he makes sure the crowd doesn’t get the best of him. No matter what happens in the audience, David Lee Roth will keep a certain discipline and not ruin the show. He is the party.
I am about to go on stage this Friday with my family band. I sat down with my children and explain just that to them. They are intelligent and sensitive. They understood. They got it. But they are 14 and 16 years old. And I know it could be a wild ride.