I just finished my last show for a while (at least, my last one in LA till Christmas). After playing two shows in LA with very little rehearsal after two months without so much as two strings to differentiate tunes on (that was a bad homage on “without two dimes to rub together”), I’m realizing that good shows don’t necessarily need to be flawless. Maybe like all things in life, good things don’t always have to be flawless.
Show #1 was the Cat Club on the Sunset Strip. Granted, I did prepare more for this show than I did the one tonight, simply because it was a *show* – so I had a set list and all. The set list went completely out the window upon arriving at the Cat Club because the group after me canceled. I had to fill nearly an hour. Thankfully, Sue Jin had her keyboard with her, and played two songs during my set (yay! it took a bit of convincing – she’s so darn modest, that girl, but she eventually gave in and shared her music with us) but I forgot half the lyrics to Jewel’s “Meant for Me”, forcing me to give it up in the middle – surprising because I’ve played it SO many times before, and left out half a verse for my new song, “Can I?” As I told my mom, though, it’s ok, because everyone there was a friend or a friend of a friend, so they’d still have to like me, even if I suck.
Show #2 was at Mai’s Cafe tonight, where more people than I expected showed up. Helen and her mom, unexpectedly! My mom apparently had called their house, and Helen’s dad told her that they had gone to see my show, and my mom was left wondering, “What show?!” And many of the people there were folks I didn’t know. Tonight, though, was definitely the night of forgotten lyrics. I must have prefaced every single number I did with, “Uhh…ok, I hope I remember the lyrics to this one.” So much that for every cover song I did, Jerry was there with his Blackberry following along and mouthing words to me from where he was sitting, and people I didn’t even know were helping out. Season’s friend was shouting out lyrics to “Meant for Me” (which I just HAD to do to prove I didn’t completely forget it) while the random guys at the bar yelled out encouragement, and later Season herself requested my signature Deathcab cover, to which I did not remember the lyrics at all. I got to give a shout out to Lauren and Beccah and COPE before doing “Atheist’s Prayer,” which is conveniently named “The Little Church” for purposes of performing for St. John’s events. We closed the night out with an incomplete, and totally karaoked version of “American Pie” with everyone singing the chorus.
Growing up playing classical music, where one wrong note can lead to week-long agonizing, doing the whole singer/songwriter thing was very liberating. What do you mean, I don’t have to be perfect? If I mess up, or change the lyrics, no one is the wiser. And sometimes, it’s even more fun when you admit it and then crack jokes about it. You can’t help feeling, though, that you’re a bit self-centered on stage, and that the jokes you make are funniest only to you. And people who don’t know you are like, “Who’s that fool on stage who can’t remember her own lyrics?” But hey, you’re the one with the mic, right?
So, tonight’s gig. Flawed? Absolutely. Worthwhile? I hope so. Fun? Hell yea.