|The Stage at The 710 Beach Club, Shortly Before Showtime|
I got to the 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach ("P.B.," as they call it 'round these parts) super-early, to have the best chance of getting my name on the sign-up sheet for the open mic. It paid off, and I got the 6th slot of the night.
So somewhere around 10:20pm, I went on stage and played three songs. I opened with "Home of Love," went on to "Pretty Blade Trickster," and closed with "Fly, Baby, Fly." There was a good crowd and they were very appreciative. I had played "Pretty Blade Trickster" on my online show LIVE from The Basement last year, but this was the first time playing it on stage in a venue, through a sound system for a live, in-person audience. It sounded REALLY good to me, very powerful.
As I mentioned in a previous post, that was the first time for me playing before a live, in-person audience since May of 2012. I was very glad that last week, I attended that open mic as an audience member without trying to play it myself. It helped me feel much more comfortable during the day yesterday, and really the whole time leading up to when I went on.
As I played, I was feeling and experiencing a wide mix of things. There was some basic stage nervousness, which was totally to be expected. But a lot of the confidence from all my previous live performing experience was also suddenly there like a fairly solid foundation for me, which felt good. As I watched the first five acts who performed before me, I did get into some of my old thinking patterns of comparing myself to the other musicians, thinking things like "Oh, he's way better than me," and "That song is much more radio-friendly, he has a much better chance of making it to The Big Time than me." That this line of thinking took a bit of a hold in my brain is disappointing, but again not unexpected. I am in the midst of changing my whole thinking about my music and the world of art and creativity, and it's going to take time.
What I tried to replace those thoughts with is: "There's room for everybody," "I'm not going to take anyone else's success from them, and no one can take my success from me," "I accept that I'm not in charge of the details and specific ways that things happen with my music - I hold my vision clear and am just doing the footwork, one tiny step at a time." I also tried to remind myself that I was there to HAVE FUN! If I'M not having fun, how can anyone in the audience possibly have fun while I play? It's amazing, these old thinking patterns that want me to perfectly chart out exactly how successful I will be, what form it will take, and on what extremely fast schedule it will all arrive. Because of course I control so little of all this. So much - almost all of it, actually - is up to The Universe and Powers Greater Than Me. And that desire to control everything puts so much pressure on me...if it's all up to me, than that's a lot of pressure!
So one of my intentions last night was just to get better at relaxing, going with the flow of everything that happens, and allowing whatever is going to happen to unfold without resisting it or trying to force it do to otherwise. I did all right, there is definitely room for improvement. There were definitely moments throughout my three-song set, though, were I did feel for a moment or two that I was having a TON of fun and the time of my life. That's something to be grateful for, I will just work on opening myself up to feeling that way more and more as time goes on.
I want to thank the people who went out of their way to mention to me afterward that they really enjoyed my set, so big thanks to Dan, Grady and Krystal. I also want to give huge, huge thanks to my friend Milica, who zoomed over to P.B. on incredibly short notice, showed up just in time to see me start, and hung out with me afterwards to help me process the whole evening. That kind of support means so much to me, and I sincerely appreciate it.
I'm excited about playing the Open Mic Rancho San Diego at Hooley's Restaurant at 4:30pm PT on Saturday. With one live San Diego performance now under my belt, it feels like the train has finally rolled out of the station, on its way to many more happy destinations! Thanks so much for reading my blog here, have a great day!