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Fears For Tears

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Every once in a while I play a song that moves someone in the audience so much, that they come up and tell me. I remember the time I played We're All alone (Boz Scaggs) and a lady came up to tell me how much that song meant to her (at length). I've always thought that reaching people on a deep emotional level was the ultimate. Think I might have changed my mind on that one. The other day I was at a function and I was really mixing it up.... Black Magic Woman, On The Sunny Side Of The Street, The Wind Cries Mary, King Of The Road, I Don't Need No Doctor and so on. I also played How Deep Is Your Love by the BEE GEEs. Afterwards a guy came up (with what I later realized were tears in his eyes) and mentioned something about his wedding and so on. At first I thought he was making fun of the song (even though I play it more like Tommy Emmanuel's version it's still kinda sugary) but I realized he wasn't joking. It sort of made me uncomfortable. I mean it's good it brought back good memories and such, but I'm so used to people staring at their phones while they're doing their best to ignore me, that I didn't know how to deal with real emotions. Go ahead and share if you've had similar experiences.

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Never had that experience. But I have had people stand like a zombie during a whole song singing along and later come back and say that was their favorite song and why. I've had it happen a few times with Desperado, Crazy Love and Your Song. On guitar, A Pirate Looks at 40, Sounds of Silence and New York's Not My Home have gotten that same reaction from some people.

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I agree that reaching people on an emotional level is one of the highest compliments for a musician - at least that's what I've always thought. Nothing could be better than the thought of making / playing something that reaches people and means something to them like so much music has for me. But because most of my work is in the studio, I'm usually not there when other people are listening to my music, so I rarely know about it if / when that happens, except for the rare occasions when someone mentions liking something I worked on to me. And when that happens it's more likely to be in text online or in an email, so there's no way to directly observe emotions - you can only go on what they say. And that can be a bit uncomfortable too (I often feel a bit awkward when I'm being complimented - especially if I feel it's a bit too effusive) but I imagine it's not nearly as bad as watching someone emotionally break down right in front of you...

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Posted (edited)

Phil, you need to get out and perform more!

 

I have seen this type of reaction several times over the years [okay, decades]. More often regarding cover songs in my solo and duo work than with the band. My most touching was someone who sought me out after they complimented another band member on one of our songs [Every Tear Leaves A Scar On My Heart], and finding out I wrote it, followed me to the bar and started telling me how much he related to the song, and how he wished he'd had the guts to say to his ex-wife what I said in the song. I told him I wished I'd had the guts to do that too, but it was written about a different, although similar, situation. He bought me a drink, bent my ear for ten minutes, and stayed until closing time. Oh, and he bought our CD that had that song [and most of our originals] on it.

Edited by daddymack

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While this doesn't happen frequently with us, it does occasionally. More often we can freeze couples on the dance floor to give 100% attention and then erupt in wild applause when the song is done.

 

I've done a fair amount of recording, but I am a live musician. It's not what I do, it's what I am. If you read the audience properly, play the right song at the right time, do a good job, and put your all into the performance, you will move people every night (with very few exceptions).

 

It's not a band entertaining an audience but musicians having a dialog with the audience. -- And it's the most fun I can have with my clothes on.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Posted (edited)

I was playing a bar and noticed a bit of a kerfuffle as I played Bruno Mars Marry You. Afterwards a couple came up who told me after living together for over a decade with no intention of getting married, upon hearing my caterwauling, decided to tie the knot. There were tears in everyone's eyes.

Edited by steve mac

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Posted (edited)

When my band plays weddings, one of the services we offer is we will learn their "special dances" for them. Usually this isn't anything too special for us, but just this last weekend the bride didn't require we learn any of those songs for them (they hired a DJ to do that) but told us that her grandmother was a huge Neil Diamond fan and asked if we could play "Forever In Blue Jeans" for her as a surprise.

 

So no problem. All of 15 minutes needed to work up that one. So middle of the set we invite the bride and her 80-something grandmother up on the stage and she is in tears leading the entire crowd of 250 or so people singing the song along with the band. And her and the bride are both in tears hugging us all and thanking us after we finish.

 

We sometimes will run into people we played for years ago and they will tell us about some song we played for them for something special we did. I usually have no recollection whatsoever, but it was obvious very special for them.

Moments like that, as corny as they are, are sometimes what live performance can be all about. Even the cheesiest cover song that I would have no desire to ever play on my own--ever--can be something very, very special for someone and we can give them a moment they will never forget and probably talk about for the rest of their lives.

 

 

 

That's good stuff.

Edited by Vito Corleone

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As some of you know I've been doing retirement homes for about 5 years now. A couple of years ago I had this woman get very upset, crying and talking loudly. Apparently a few of the songs I played brought back memories of her deceased husband. After that incident, I had a fear of that happening again.

 

I haven't noticed anything like that happening since, but one compliment I get quite often is: "I knew every song you played". I guess they usually get musicians that play obscure songs? Anyway, certain songs bring back certain memories for folks of all ages. Those memories can evoke emotions sometimes.

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yes, i first noticed this at about 9 years of age. a simple curiosity as to how an entire congregation could be moved to tears, (a group physical response to singular auditory cue), led to this fascination and still continuing study of how sound and vibration relate to and have the ability to elicit change on physical and energetic planes. i hesitate to respond as i have been misunderstood here and elsewhere in past attempts at communicating this and most likely will be again... if one of you gets it, its worth the humiliation.

this is why i play festivals and do the (what some of you deem silly) things i do...

Playthink...

had to call my wife today and tell her i have a new girlfriend... her name is juniper, shes three years old... she wandered into my dome during a young peoples drum circle where we had about a dozen children playing real hand drums and percussion... juniper lit up! it was christmas , her birthday, 4th of july and new years wrapped up in one! she literally bubbled over with pure joy! her excitement and happiness exploded and infected everyone! her joy touched something in everyone around her... she reminded me why i started doing all of this in the first place.

later that evening i was exploring the venue and i saw juniper and her mom waved me over. juniper held a purple, plastic badge that read “ you are my happy” and said, “ You. “. smiling, i told her purple is my favorite, but she didnt need to give me anything... about this time her mom gave me the “mom” look and said “ shes trying to give you a gift”... i swiftly replied, yes ma’am and thanked her through fighting back tears... reaching into my pocket i produced two stone hearts... one amethyst, one rose quartz and she chose amethyst, purple is her favorite too! when she handed back the stone heart, i smiled and said, “ You.” again i saw that joy begin to effervesce as she asked, “ mine?”. yes, dear... i offered the pink one again and said, “ this one is for you to give away... a gift for anyone you choose. “. this little girl, almost three years old, stopped, held her hands above her head, grasping a stone heart in each little hand and looked into my heart. she gave the look children give us when theyre trying to get us to understand something.. frustrated... and then we finally get it... that look... the last two days of the festival i watched for juniper in her wagon... blowing me kisses every time she sees me... im currently looking for a small djembe... a real one, not a toy. i know a young drummer/artist that has the heart and spirit to facilitate positive changes in everything she touches...

luckily, my wife said she understood and this time, she was willing to let this go...

 

these are small, break even, if youre lucky, type festivals... i may have actually cleared $50 on this one. which was promptly lost to the firefly fiasco in delaware... monetarily, this three week tour was in the red... somehow it still feels like i got paid... hey! i just got a phone call to play a little festival in south carolina, 26-28th... zen-plicity... another break even gig... ??

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If you love what you do, then the money is secondary; it is still good to come out ahead...and whoever said that what you are doing with the gongs is 'silly' will never understand.

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I play piano at restaurants 2-3 nights a week, usually it's as if someone puts up a "Do NOT make eye contact with the piano player" sign outside but every now and then someone gets emotional. A few months ago a well- dressed lady started bawling after she asked me to play "The Way We Were". I was a little embarrassed and her husband seemed to be, also. Guess it goes with the territory.

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working as a music therapist for almost 20 years kind of helps one bear in mind that music is the language of the heart... all emotions can be accessed through it... why are we so surprised when memories are brought back into frame by such power? and it is indeed a power... altered states of consciousness? easy peasy! its what we do... its what does us... better get out your ticket, here comes the conductor! all aboard!

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