You've got this gig that came at the end of a long week of shows that you're squeezing in to fill a date and your wallet. You get to the venue and they tell you they're going to have you play outside in the 90 degree heat. In the sun.
You made a mistake on your calendar, and you're committed to play double the time you'd planned on, making you miss supper. Then you hurt your back hauling your gear across a massive field to the stage, and you forgot to restock your emergency advil bottle in your car's glove compartment. The crowd isn't into the music, and you spend 4 hours playing in agony with a sweaty fake smile plastered on your face.
Yeah- I've never played one of those shows, either.
Truth is, we all struggle with one ailment or another onstage, and it's important we find ways to make the audience believe we're having just as much fun as we'd like them to have. Here's three quick ways to accomplish this:
It amazes me how rarely musicians actually smile while playing music- this is the easiest, simplest way to help people enjoy your music, and it takes very little effort.
I regularly forgo pain killers for days before a show, then take one when I really need it about 20 minutes before heading onstage. It'll make you feel so much better, and since your body hasn't built up a tolerance to the drugs from taking it every day, the pain meds will be significantly more helpful. This also works with caffeine, as well.
Get a Roadie
Sometimes it can really be worth 10 bucks an hour to hire someone to haul, set up, and then tear down your gear for a show. Most of the physical pain you endure during a tour is related to stuff a roadie can handle, and it just makes sense to splurge on an extra man if it means you can play more shows as a result.