Ravenna Flamenco

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Kristos Eastlake: Round II

posted in performance on july 15th, 2009

That’s right: even after Zanbaka’s inexplicable "lampshade incident" at the first Kristos show, the resident powers-that-be asked us back for a second round!

And good fun it was: lots of folks came out to support us and helped make for quite the lively evening. I never did get a head count, but by my best estimate I would say the place was about 90% full—which, given that it was a Sunday night, I find not the least bit disappointing.

Set-wise, we were able to add two new songs and rotate in some material that we hadn’t gotten to last month. There are some staple dances that we did repeat (how can you not do a soleá, after all?), but overall I think we switched things up enough that folks who had come to both nights weren’t overwhelmed by déjà-vu.

Performance-wise, I found that this time around was less stressful than the first night. I suspect having played the space once before helped that. Also (and I know this is going to sound all patchouli-hippie, so just skip ahead if you’re not feeling the tie-dye), I’ve been trying out some new "pre-show" mental ablutions and this one seems to be working:

About 20 minutes before going on, I tune and warm up with some rasgueado and scales. After about 10 minutes, though, (i.e. 10 minutes until I go on) the ol’ nervous system starts to wig out. Like it or not, I start thinking about all the train-wrecks possible, my hands start to get cold, my stomach goes ape-shit (all of this, being, of course, the much villainized (because very villainous) ‘fight-or-flight’ response of which I’ve written in previous posts).

The cold hands, of course, have nothing to do with being warmed up; they’re just a result of my nervous system plotting against me. At this point, continuing to "warm up" will do precisely nothing. I’m as warm as I need to be—the problem is I’m also neurologically in fifth gear. So I rest my guitar on my leg and just chill: I take some deep breaths; I visualize myself on stage, relaxed, playing well and enjoying myself (hey—is that sandalwood I smell?).

And it seems to work. My hands still don’t truly get "warm" until usually halfway through the first set, but at least they’re not useless flippers, embarrassing me out there on the ends of my arms. I’m still wary about putting anything super-technical in the first song or two, but this can usually be managed.

Might all this be the result of simply playing out more often? That’s entirely possible. But if you were to tell me that doing handstands before a show would put me in a state of utter chill, I’d be willing to try it out.

Especially if you were also to tell me that they would discourage a certain dancer’s fascination with the aerodynamics of lighting accessories.

But that’s a story for another post—now you: go play!


tags: zamani, kristos
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