We all know that seeing performers who really put it all out there onstage makes the concert experience even more rewarding, and I’m sure many of you already know what that feeling is like onstage for yourselves. I for one, am someone who is never really satisfied unless I know I’ve given it “my all” in a performance. It seems to almost be a kind of addiction once you’ve really gotten used to, and hooked on, that feeling. It’s hard to explain, but when the communication is right between you, the other players and the crowd, and other things such as the sound fall into place nicely, you can really have the makings of a perfect musical experience. The funny thing is, that for me, I never really know where it’s going to happen.
I can have an even more intense musical communication and purely emotional experience in a lowly basement bar in Finland, where they may never even remember my name, as much if not more, than on some grand stage in a fancy arena, where all the conditions are right. Sometimes it’s just better to be “down and dirty” with the crowd, on an almost one-on-one approach where the connection is so intense. I have even experienced this kind of intense connection during clinics, where you can have hundreds, even thousands, as I did in Australia, simply hanging on your every note and word!
This “giving it all up” onstage was something that got into my blood at a very early age. Even as a sideman, I quickly learned how to essentially “steal the show” ad make the audience come to me, as it were. I was a front man with my own band, Steel, a couple of years before I became a sideman in Woodstock, and this progression set me up to be very natural and also quite intense onstage, regardless of the role I was playing. It’s an amazing feeling to have, and it’s one of true musical “control” where you feel as if you can do no wrong once you’re up there on that stage. I believe it’s really something you should strive for, even though there have been great “laid back” performers. Believe it or not, many times, those “laid back” folks are really being just as intense as the ones who seemingly “put out” more than most. For example, my late great friend John Entwistle of The Who, was always looked at as being so aloof onstage because of all the antics of the other three Who members, but without hi true intensity while performing, and what he put into that music, those performances would never have been as intense as they were!
So whether you’re the “laid back” type onstage, or the really flamboyant type, make sure first and foremost that it’s real onstage before you start to put that intensity into your shows….not only will the audience be let down if it’s not, you certainly would be too. Happy performing!