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My 5 Worst Nightmares Onstage, and How I’d Solve Them Now

My 5 Worst Nightmares Onstage, and How I’d Solve Them Now


Since I’ve been playing out, I’ve had everything from power surges to stunned June beetles try to ruin my performances. Here’s my top 5 preventable train wrecks onstage, and how I would prevent them from happening now: 



Nightmare #5: On the last note of my first full band gig, I hit my keyboard and the stand collapses. The keyboard hits the ground like a bag of bricks.


Solution: Always buy a double braced keyboard stand, and make sure before playing that all pins and safety cables are properly connected. I ended up having to sell that keyboard for a loss because of a broken middle C key, which cost a lot more than a double braced stand would have. 



Nightmare #4: I show up to the venue, and forget my power cable. I have to drive all the way home to get the power cable, and miss half of the show. I’m never invited back. 


Solution: Make a checklist of all of your gear and cables, and then religiously check it off before you leave for the show. Don’t rely on just your memory- your career is too important. 



Nightmare #3: I attempt to sing into a microphone, and receive such a violent shock to my lips that I sound mentally disabled the rest of the evening. 


Solution: Insist on grounding all of your equipment. It’ll keep you from painful electrical shocks, and eliminate a host of other ground-related issues. 



Nightmare #2: Just as I settle into playing a 3 hour solo piano set, I discover that the sustain pedal squeaks like a dying squirrel every time I touch it. 


Solution: Buy a simple piano repair kit (WD-40 included), learn to use it, and take it to every show where you rely on the venue’s piano. Most problems can be solved in a few moments before the show.


And finally. . . . 


Nightmare #1: I’m onstage in front of several thousand people, and my entire keyboard rig, including the band leader’s keyboard that is running off of my MacBook Pro, crashes. It takes 5 minutes for it to relaunch, while the lead singer tries to keep the audience entertained with dumb jokes. 


Solution: Don’t ever, ever run all of your keyboards on one computer. Make sure your rig has redundancy, and includes rock-solid hardware keyboards that are virtually immune to crashes, even in extreme heat and cold.

Two Ways to Set Up Your Keyboard Rig

Two Ways to Set Up Your Keyboard Rig

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