As excited (and nervous) and I was about it, I totally forgot to write about the gig in Topeka! (See "Finally Gigging It Up".)
It had been at least 4 years since I stepped on a stage to perform in front of people. Probably about 6 years by myself as I usually had a band behind me. But overall, once the rustiness wore off, as well as being able to look out and see my friends in front of me with the mixture of bar goers, I think it went pretty well.
The start was the worst. I got there super early and ended up being set up and ready to go 20 minutes before my scheduled to start time. I got all tuned up and let the anxiousness burrow into me. When I finally sat down, I checked my tuning on my shiny new tuner and I just started to play the first song in my 40 minute set list.
It felt wrong from the get go and I didn't start singing like I was supposed to but I kept playing. When I picked up the vocal the next time around the riff, it felt very weird. It was then that I realized I was in the wrong tuning. I play in E flat and Dropped D flat. I was supposed to be in D yet I was in E. I had no choice but to stop and do one of the most embarrassing things you can do on stage. Admit that you messed up, re-tune, and start over.
One thing that's nice being a musician and writing your own tunes is that most people can't tell when you mess something up. You're the musician, you can play your own song, or even a cover for that matter, however you want. Back in the band days I would just keep going, forget about the mistake and it would usually just go unnoticed by the crowd. But in this situation, it was close to impossible to cover and I had to take the hit.
Setting aside the minor embarrassment, I started up again and the rest of the set went how I had practiced for the previous month. Aside from ending about 20 minutes early from my scheduled time, I was pretty satisfied with my performance. As always, it was just getting up there that was the mountain to climb, getting down was the smooth ride. I look forward to doing the whole thing again sooner than later, minus the tuning mishap of course, and maybe with someone else to jam with me. Hopefully I'll have a nice shiny new guitar to go with my nice shiny new tuner by then so I don't have to borrow.