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May, 2014

House Concerts

by Webmaster

A friend of mine mentioned that he doesn't do house concerts.

He's supported himself playing and singing for most of his life. He plays out a lot, in restaurants and bars, and the occassional stage show with other performers.

He'd like to do house concerts. If he does a house concert, he said he would do more of his originals, and tell stories.

I realized that his stage patter consists mostly of engaging the audience, getting them to request songs, and as a result, putting money in the tip jar.

He sees a house concert as a change to be a featured artist on stage.

I've only been to one house concert. I went because of the musicians. A lot of the people there had no interest in the musicians, so they talked loudly through the show. Unfortunately, they chose to sit in the seats in front of the musicians to talk loudly.

I had a house concert recently. Based on my single experience, I didn't know what to expect. But, I knew I didn't want a repetition of that other house concert.

I didn't see my house concert as a stage show. I didn't expect someone to come to my house and do a 2-hour formal show. I hoped to see him relax, sit on the sofa, and talk with us, play some tunes, and enjoy himself. I hoped it would be like spending a few hours with friends, including a friend who likes to sing and play guitar and talk.

I didn't give anyone any guidelines. I simply told the star to relax and enjoy himself. When he said he had to get changed for the show, I asked why.

He started when he felt like it and chose to sit in a chair at the same level as the rest of us. He kicked off his shoes, and relaxed. He sang songs, talked about himself and the songs, engaged us in conversation, and seemed okay with us singing along on a couple of songs. It was all I hoped it would be.

It wasn't quite the way I expected, because my friends, bless their hearts, sat entralled in simply listened. They were a wonderful audience. When there was a need to talk, they went into another room and talked quietly.

So many times, we plan events and have expectations, and wind up tired and disappointed. I did the planning and preparation ahead of time that was necessary: we chose a date and signed a contract; I signed checks, cleaned the house and prepared food. And I tried hard to go into it with no expectations.

I did what necessary during the event: adjusted lights, stopped the ticking and chiming clocks, and got more chairs as needed. Mostly, I got to enjoy my wonderful guests and the fabulous star.

Afterward, he told me that he'd never done a house concert like that before. He's always done a more formal show, even in a house. And, he said he liked doing it that way. He, my guests, and I decided to do it again next year.

When I have no expectations, I can't be disappointed.

When hopes become reality, I feel like I've been given a beautiful present. I sent thank you emails to everyone who was there.

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We played there and rocked! We were great! Not as great as we would have been if we'd had our regular drummer. And bass player. But we still rocked!

And they didn't call us back for another gig. Why?

I guess I forgot to get them the promo material and info they wanted ahead of time. Hey, I was busy working and rehearsing and playing other gigs.

Well, yeah, not too many of our fans were there, but it was a long way for our fans to go. The club is supposed to have their regulars there. They'll become our fans.

OK. So the folks who were there didn't get into our music. They just haven't come on board yet. They will, if we play there enough.

Alright. They told us to turn down the volume. Three times. But that's the way we play. The management is just a bunch of old fogeys who don't like music.

Oh, right. There was a lot of hassle with the date. We had it booked then had to change it because we got a better gig. But it only happened twice.

So we were late. It was no big deal. We have day jobs and had to load up and race down there and traffic was really bad and we got lost once. You see, it really wasn't our fault we were late.

Do you believe they wouldn't feed us? Or give us more than 1 drink per set? Do they think we can live on air? It takes energy to perform like we do. And we came there straight from work, so how do they expect us to play on an empty stomach. It wouldn't have cost them anything to feed us.

And they expected us to keep our breaks to 15 minutes. How can we go out and buy food and eat it in only 15 minutes?

And back to the regulars. They expected us to take requests. We don't do requests. We have set lists. We like to do our originals, not those old songs that everyone's heard forever.

So we spent our breaks in the green room. No point in going out and talking to those losers. Plus we had to teach the bass player the chords for some of our songs.

We set out a tip jar and mentioned it between every song, but we didn't get tips. So we told the manager that we needed to get more money than we agreed to because there were no tips. And, I wasn't yelling. I just project my voice really well.

We kinda left a mess on the stage and in the green room when they wouldn't cough up more money. We're not going to play for peanuts then clean the place for them. It's okay. They've got people there who get paid to clean up.

I just don't understand why they didn't call us back for another gig. We rocked!

Any questions?

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