Performance Series Part One-Preparing For The Show
by Sass Jordan – Artist, The Lowry Agency
In the great and glorious world of rock shows, there are a million ways to prepare for tonight’s show, but only a couple that guarantee you play your best game. Having been performing on stages in every kind of venue known to man and beast for the better part of 34 years, I have a tip or two for you …
Let’s start with the assumption that you are doing a one – off, as tours are so few and far between these days that the majority of the people reading this are likely to be doing the ‘showcase’ type gig, one where you have that one show to prove yourself and to interest the people that might matter in your near future, including agents, managers, sponsors and of course, more than anything else – fans. You have to turn all those people who might work with you into fans, or they will never have the motivation to do their best to get you and your work out there in a big way.
I like to make sure I have the tightest set list possible. If there are songs you have that are known in any way, those will be your feature songs – your set ‘hi-lites’, so to speak. You want to open super strong, because quite honestly, it’s like a comedian – if they don’t make you laugh in the first 15-30 seconds you will have a tepid reaction at best. If they can make you laugh immediately, it’s like it sets up your psyche to laugh at the rest of the stuff, even if it isn’t that funny. A comedy routine is front -loaded for a reason .. and it’s psychological! A rock show has to be the same way .. there is a flow that has to happen … come on super strong .. stay up …dip in the middle … and then build back up to a super strong finish.
You have to pace yourself, and you have to be ready to give everything you’ve got, every time you do it. Some days you’re gonna have more than other days, but no one else ever needs to know that. Physical prep for the show is pretty individual, but I’ll give you a run down of what I do ..
Start the day with a HEALTHY BREAKFAST .. this includes whole grains, eggs, nut butters, fruit, or my personal favorite, a green smoothie! Tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber PLUS a delicious taste .. what more could you ask for? Do your regular workout, or at least get in a brisk walk – you want to get the blood moving and the oxygen flowing through the system.
You’ll be doing a soundcheck, possibly traveling some distance, and perhaps some interviews, so you’ll be using your voice quite a bit day of show- something to remember in the weeks prior to the show. You want to have your voice on a work out schedule, just the same as your body. Try singing four of the songs that will be in the set every day for a couple of weeks prior to the show … this will train your vocal cords and get the songs deeply embedded into your subconscious, so that there will be no recall effort whatsoever.
Next, make sure you have your stage clothes ready to go- decide what you’re gonna wear the day before, try it on, make sure it looks good and is comfortable enough for you to move around in. Image is truly half the battle, or MORE! As Eddie Izzard says …”10% how you sing, 90% how you look doing it”!!! That is of course an exaggeration, but it’s something to keep in mind. There are a lot of huge stars today that are more about a look and a style than about great singing.
Get something light to eat about 2 hours before you play .. you want to have energy for the show – and drink a good amount of water through out the day, just to keep the vocal cords hydrated. Forty five to thirty minutes before show time, clear the dressing room so you can do your voice warm up routine, and talk through the set with the band – let them know if you are going to talk to the crowd and certain points, or if you are gonna move anywhere they need to know about – (like into the audience etc) and when.
In the last couple of minutes before you go onstage, think about why you are doing this. Ask yourself why people should bother coming to see and hear you. Why you, and not one of the other billion acts out there these days? These are the moments to gather up all your energy, bring it up to your heart center .. fill it with the love you have for what you do, and the service you are providing- and then bring it up to your throat center – run onto the stage, and SING!!!!!