Ok,That Was the Wrong Chord

Played guitar in front of people on Saturday.

Two friends and I did a passable rendition of the Jack Johnson song, ‘Constellations’, with three guitars (two six strings, and a 12), four quick minutes and some seriously awesome nervousness.

We practiced on Wednesday nights, running through the song three or four times, then spending another hour or two hammering out covers. Lots of halting starts and stops, but occasionally we would get through an Eagles song, or maybe something from Springsteen. At first I was a bit put out by the whole process. I have always firmly believed I was happier playing original music than trying to copy someone else (who is most likely five to ten times the musician I am).  The first few weeks, I would try to encourage some experimentation. They weren’t very interested. Then a strange thing happened. I didn’t lose my love or desire for original music, but I discovered I really enjoy playing songs that I recognize, that others know. The last practice session, when we worked through and finally played and sang ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by The Who, I had chills.

On Saturday afternoon, the three of us met to make sure the vocals didn’t drown out the guitars (sound check, yeah that’s the word). Travis sang the first verse. Sid had the second. On the chorus, the two of them blended so well, I chose not to join in. The two times we ran through the song were the best we had ever played it. You know what that means…

Lots of silly acts and a few seriously good ones preceded us. Finally, dressed in green pants, deep blue shirt and electric blue shoes (that really, almost matched my guitar), I found myself seated, waiting for Sid to count us in.

One and two and tap tap…Oh hell, the second chord isn’t C major fingering (capo on the first fret).Ok, I say in my head, stay where you’re at, for two measures then D major finger position. Whew. No one really will notice. Wait, Travis should be singing by now. I look over and the microphone is down around his navel. Sid stops playing, and rather than realize he is just tightening the mic stand, I also stop playing. Lucky, Travis keeps going. 

The microphone back in position and WOW! Travis can really sing. I finally stop thinking and just play. My fingers move in muscle memory and I am really enjoying this. I nail the first chorus without a single muted note. Sid pounds out a little solo riff then sings the second verse and I smile. Two more times through the chorus and a final slow G major and we are done. We stand, give half bows and we are off stage. 

I laugh as I tell the others about my mistakes. Sid says he messed up the words and missed a note or three on his riff. Travis shakes his head about the microphone stand. All of us are happy. We can’t wait to do it again.

I am not the least bit disappointed with myself for the early error. If anything, being able to recover and then play near flawlessly for the rest of the song, made me grateful for the mistake. Knowing I can fight through, not collapse or quit is a good realization. It was such a pleasant nervous energy  before we started playing. I forgot how much I liked how that felt. I think I need to feel it again…

and again.

About fenster

There are some who call me, Tim?

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