After five or so weeks or rehearsal, comes the true and only measure of a musical ensemble: public performance. The rehearsal is a laboratory, a safe haven, even a place where time can be wasted, but all musical endeavors ONLY come to life before an audience.
The Velvets have their foot in the door of Festivall, Charleston's annual art-music fest. We performed today at 11am and 4pm. That was a crucial goal. I want our name out there.
Overall, I felt very satisfied with what we accomplished. I wanted to do the Velvet name justice. That, I felt, we accomplished. And most importantly for me, nerves never got the better of me. I felt pretty relaxed and present to the moment, never getting that panicked feeling.
(This I attribute to the morning sitting. Thank you, Robert Fripp.)
Sometimes you can have all these voices in your head and worry about what the audience is thinking. It's a bit like wiggling under a microscope I suppose. This mental "spiral" can take any public performer away from their craft, crushed under the weight of their own doubts.
I wasn't worried a minute. The music is what it is, the players only as good as they are, all things being equal between audience and players. The worst mistake is to try to be something that you are not: the audience instantly senses that something is not right. And if it's not right, then it never cooks.
One interesting comment: "I can't even hear that fast." We had a few barn burners. My personal goal was to have music that challenged me. I didn't want slow-slow-slow for the sake of safety of performance. To hell with that.
The audience was with us, I felt, even when goofing on poor old Elvis.
He was a Velvet Elvis today.