Balancing Ambition with Resources

November 8, 2019

I played a gig with a friend of mine the other week. Two guitars, one vocal with the odd harmony part. Too simple. I needed to over-complicate it.

Two acoustic guitars would not do. I needed to give the audience more by bringing some electric into the mix. Who needs one tuning when you cand have three. Standard, Drop D for something heavier, and DADGAD for that folky sound. Stick to chords? Nah, too boring. We needed be dynamic with solos, keep things fresh for the ear. I must entertain the people!

Sometimes your ambition does not match your available resources. Here my ego was busy writing cheques that my skills could not cash. The gig was crap.

It wasn’t the lack of preparation. I had taken over my neighours vacant shed for three weeks, putting in up to 3 hours a night to learn the material. It wasn’t the crowd. Sure they didn’t acknowledge our presence for the first hour, but once the alcohol kicked in, they got going. Hell, I even got paid!

No, my ego killed the gig. I was too busy chasing the next riff or recovering from missed chord to enjoy myself. Being outside your comfort zone is healthy, being a way too far outside it is panic. My need to impress had set me up for a fall. And fall I did. But it wasn’t a complete loss. Towards the end of the set, when at my lowest ebb, we played a stripped back version of a country classic, just finger style acoustic and vocals. Simple. The room went quiet. I got into it.