Monday, February 24
5:25 PM - Here we go. A carry-on bag filled with a performer's essentials on one shoulder, Grudzel in a soft case on the other. I should leave now so I don't miss the train.
5:37 PM - It's so crowded and my luggage prevents me from being unobtrusive. Balance and bag-wrangling are the skills of the hour. I think about my set as we speed forward.
5:52 PM - Transfer successful and train #2 is on its way to my final destination. The child across the aisle is making noises somewhere between unhappily uncomfortable and ridiculously excited. It's amusing, but not enough to completely distract me from what I'm about to do.
6:05 PM - Off the train and on campus. I could easily be mistaken for a music student. College is such a strange place. I would have made a terrible collegiate music student.
6:10 PM - At the venue. Tommy's Place hasn't changed, but it sure is different being the performer and not the crew. The other performer for the night has arrived early too.
6:20 PM - Soundcheck ahead of schedule. I was worried I would be uncontrollably nervous, but standing onstage behind the microphone with my guitar plugged in feels more therapeutic than nerve-wracking. I am clearly not well warmed-up, but it's better to know that at soundcheck than to figure that out during the actual performance.
7:06 PM - The performer before me sounded pretty good during her check. I start to question myself. The deficiencies in my technique on both guitar and on vocals become obvious. Moments of panic rush forward as I tell myself it's too late to worry about that now. I can't help but worry that I haven't practiced at full-volume enough. I really should find a rehearsal space where I can be loud without disrupting the neighbors.
7:14 PM - It takes so much focus to remain calm. So much energy just pulsing through my veins. Got to keep things positive otherwise I'll likely destroy myself. Part of me is hoping that no one shows up and the other part is hoping everyone I know shows up.
7:21 PM - I feel so uncomfortable doing it, but when it comes to a show, it's absolutely necessary for the performer to declare his/her importance. I must claim my spot on stage. Whatever happens tonight, tomorrow I can work on making things better. Additionally, I've seen enough shows flop to know it's not the end of the world.
7:29 PM - Time to change and get dolled up.
7:45 PM - The show starts. Her smoky voice sits snugly in her guitar playing and everything glistens with reverb. There aren't many people here. I wonder who will come to watch me.
8:07 PM - The first set wraps up. I can feel the butterflies again.
8:10 PM - I invited these people!
8:16 PM - Head backstage to warm-up. I wonder if people can hear me though the thick curtain and the house music. I decide I don't care. That much...
8:29 PM - My alarm goes off. A deep breath and I'm onstage. The club is pretty empty, but I know there are eager ears listening in the shadows. Plug in. Make it through the intro of "Mary." The worst is over.
Sometime between 8:30 and 8:57 PM - I realize that there is nothing I would rather do than perform.
8:57 PM - Speed through an encore.
9:01 PM - Pack up Grudzel. I can feel my spirit expanding within me--decompressing after a week of excitement.
9:06 PM - Meet and mingle. Friends are good company at shows, but the two girls who came over from the bar to watch are equally kind and supportive. Cards are handed out with much gratitude and appreciation.
11:00 PM - Back home. Not sure what to do now. So tired, but still buzzing with the night's excitement. I have to find more gigs.
Now - The journey continues.
Thank you for all your support! It's not a show without an audience.