Performance: Tips For Your First Live Show
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The moment has come and this is your first live performance. It is nerve-racking, I know. For some more than for others. We’ve already talked about how to deal with stage frights in one of our previous articles. But, apart from that, if you are new to live performance, here’s a few tips to help you pull it off as smooth as possible.
Before the performance
Know your space
Make sure to see the stage you will perform on. Set everything up nicely and easily for you to reach. Make sure you brought all of your equipment. You don’t want cables around you, and pedals that pop out of nowhere. Sometimes you’ll have less space to operate with, sometimes you’ll have more. So, make sure to take your time and see where everything is going to be set up. Make the space comfortable to move around, as much as you possibly can.
Meet the people that help you bring your performance to life
The sound guy. The lights and visuals guy. All of the people that will be there to assist and participate in any way during the time of your performance. Even the bar tender. Especially the sound guy. These peeps can make or break your show. They deliver the sound you want the audience to hear right into their ears. Have a conversation before the performance just to make sure you all are on the same page.
This is going to sound crazy for some of you, but I have heard a band here and there that did sound in the way that it makes you question: “Hm, did these dudes even have a soundcheck before coming on stage?”
The answer’s no. They didn’t. That’s why they sound so bad. Soundchecks are sooOOOooooooooOoo important. You won’t always be playing at the same venue, or be able to bring your own sound guy with you, or your equipment. So, don’t take that risk of just going on stage without doing a soundcheck first. This is the opportunity for you to bring things as close to perfection as you possibly can. Don’t miss it.
Never. Never in a million years. Do not ever go for a song that you can not play in your sleep. That’s the level of practice you need to have gotten to, so you can bring a song on stage. This is your first gig. The nerves are gonna hit and that song will sound even more horrible than it did when you played it on rehearsal. So no. Never. Especially not on your first gig which will already sound horrible to you in five years from now even without this happening (don’t get upset, this one’s for the hopes that you will get better and better with time 😉 ).
Practice until you feel like it is good enough to bring it on stage. Don’t just practice the songs individually, but practice the whole show. Just like actors do with a play. This will help you become more confident and probably less nervous once you’re really out there.
During the performance
I really can’t stress this enough. The best thing you can do is get out there and be yourself. Enjoy yourself and engage everyone in it.
Interact with the audience
No matter how nervous you are and how much you are freaking out, please give your best to interact with the audience. They are there for you, and it is your responsibility to make thins entertaining and engage them in your act. If you’re in a band, this responsibility applies equally to each and every one of you.
Relax. Everything that you do in that moment instantly transmits down in the crowd. Make sure you interact with them and acknowledge their presence. This is a moment all of you should enjoy and experience together.
Think about the live performances you’ve seen
You sure have been a part of someone else’s audience. What’s the best live performance that you’ve seen? What was so special about it? What made everyone have a great time? This is what you want to spark among your audience. I think it’s a great way to inspire yourself.
Control it. Balance it. Don’t force yourself, just let the moment take you. Not too much though. Just don’t overthink it. And don’t jump until you end up collapsing in the middle of your live show. Also don’t stand there motionless. Take it easy. Equilibrium. You get me.
What makes a performance a good performance?
Is it the sound guy? Is it the badass drummer? The great equipment? The lights? So what is it?
I’d say, all of those together do. But there’s one moment where I think you truly find the answer. When you grab all these things and deliver them to the audience just the way they are.
Thing is, people go on concerts to enjoy themselves. It is there where we let go of everything else and we just want to enjoy the moment. You might not have the best equipment and lights, and they might not find you the best band they have ever heard, but, none of that really matters once they’re there and you’re on stage. Then it is about sincerely approaching and offering who you are and what you have in a genuine manner. So, this is your moment, so just cherish that relationship you have with the crowd. And have fun!