Monday I told you that I would talk about the Saturday night gig at St Matt's After Dark (www.stmatthew.org/stmattafterdark) Series put on by the very professional and easy to work with Tony Bomkamp and his lovely wife Kate.
Because I was flying into Los Angeles the day of the gig, I called Tony after I landed to assure him that I was in the vicinity and then told him what I would be doing and when I would leave for the venue and that I would call him again at 4 pm to let him know where I was.
It is important to keep the producers of the concert in the loop, so that they don't have any anxiety about your performance.
photo by duff ferguson
And I always show up early, usually around five pm, that way, I'm there for the gig, there before the sound check with plenty of time to load in equipment, set up the CD table, warm up, focus and change into those daring showbiz clothes that I always wear.
It takes a lot of focus to put on a two hour concert when you are part of a company or band. It is even more important for you to focus when you are a solo performer because there's no one to cover for you if you mess up. It's just you up there.
So after everything is set up and the sound check is done, I go into the dressing room and play in the dark for at least an hour. In the twenty minutes or so before the show, I like to lie down and just meditate on the show and the audience and the connection. I don't always get to do this, particularly if the dressing room only has form chairs and a linoleum floor, but everytime I do it, things just go better than when I don't.
Tony was concerned because the advance sales weren't covering the guarantee, but I told him to relax. We would both send out another email blast to the media and to the patrons. We ended up with a great house and the concert was truly rewarding for me.
Instead of doing songs from all twenty three of my albums, I did songs only from the last two. The best way to encourage your patrons to buy your CD's is to not give them so very many choices. They become overwhelmed and then they don't buy any of them.
I usually do a one hour set and then do a meet and greet, afterwhich I go back up on stage and do a forty five to fifty five minute set depending on the hour and the audience.
For the first set, I did all songs from the Eternal Contradiction with one or two other songs thrown in because I like every set to be different from the last. Then when I took a break between the two sets and people asked which album had which song, I can simply say that all the songs that I did in that last set are on this CD.
As usual, I sold every other person in the room a CD. I almost always do fifty percent of the house, unless I am back in front of the same audience with the same show.
Speaking of which, it is good to cultivate several areas of the country so that you can only play each area about once a year. That way it is an event when you show up. If you come through every hour and a half, you will get about ten percent of your audience each time. Make your concerts an event; make them special, and one of the ways is to not come so often.
I also like dressing for the shows. I feel like it is an honor for all these people to come out just to hear me sing and play and by dressing up, I demonstrate my gratitude and my recognition of this being a special event and not just a car wash party.
The show at ST Matt's went extremely well, CD sales were brisk and in the end I actually got a standing ovation. How can you not love a room like that?