I performed in Tehachapi this weekend and had an interesting reminder of why I have made the choices I’ve made with regard to what I consider professionalism.
I was doing a two hour concert at Fiddler’s Crossing, a new venue that is just starting up.
If I may digress for a moment, I discovered when I was twenty one that I was really fond of martinis. So fond, in fact, I decided to relegate them to a special place, for fear that my fondness for martinis would turn them into the drink I had every morning with my granola. So I decided that I would only have them on Friday nights and I’ve faithfully done that for the last forty three years, with one caveat. If I’m working on a Friday night, I don’t have them.
My feeling is that alcohol dissipates your energy and your focus. Something that you really need when you are performing, particularly solo when there’s no one to take up the slack.
So because I was working Saturday night, I decided that I was all right to have that martini on Friday night. I also had almost two glasses of wine with dinner, a fabulous duo of Cornish game hens I prepared for Eveline and I.
I woke up late Saturday morning puffy and a little out of sorts. Got out of the house late and arrived in Tehachapi a little over two hours before the gig.
Did the set up and went to grab some Mexican food around the corner.
While I was washing my hands, Eveline ordered us some guacamole and two margaritas. She didn’t realize that I don’t usually drink hard liquor when I perform, as she rarely goes with me on gigs.
I came back and figured, well, one won’t hurt me.
Alcohol really dries out your vocal chords. If you couple that the fact that I drank a little too much Friday night, you can see that my vocal chords were a little more dehydrated than they should have been for a gig.
Now the kicker.
Tehachapi is at about 4400 feet elevation. Almost a mile higher than Los Angeles. The air is thinner and it’s high desert so it is very dry.
I discovered half way thru my set that my voice was going. I have been doing this a long time and I finessed my way thru the set and the second set and I drank about ten cups of water over the course of the sets.
That helped, but here’s the big lesson for today. I’ve said it before, but this time I mean it.
You start preparing for a gig the day before. I should have rescheduled my martini for Sunday night, and had ice tea or bubbly water with dinner both nights.
When you have a gig you have to start getting ready for it at least twenty four hours in advance. Thirty six would probably be better and as we, ahem, mature thirty six should become the norm.