Oh Charlotte, Queen City of North Carolina. The financial hub that it is with the HQ of Bank of America as well as other heavy hitters, we set our sights on the Double Door. This club is famous for its long list of artists who’ve played there. Stevie Ray’s old promo photo is still up on the wall, albeit permanently affixed to prevent theft, but he did play there on a number of occasions, I kid you not. I’ve always like this venue cuz’ it’s truly an old house. Not sure what it was when first built but with all the wood on the walls and floor it makes the sound warm. I’ve had many memorable performances here and I always look forward to the shows. The drive is normal and uneventful and we make it to load in on time. The staff is still pretty much the same cast of characters since I started playing here probably way back in 97’.
The crowd is looking pretty good and we start in on the first set. I can already tell I’m going to play better cuz’ I’m starting at a better spot than I did last night. In Graham my hands felt stiff and clumsy, but now this night I’m feeling a bit more dexterous, like how I felt near the end of last night. My anxiety is starting to melt away. Even after all these years of performing I still always have a bit of anxiety creep into me before every performance. From what I’ve read about other performers a lot more famous than me, this feeling never goes away. That’s one of the reasons I love what I do so much. You stand on the precipice visualizing what’s to come but you have to be ready for the unexpected turns that my creative energy wants to go. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes woefully bad. I’m not afraid to say it. That’s the chance you take when you try to work on things you’ve been practicing in private and then when applied on stage with all the other elements in play, my ear hears it differently and it’s that combination that I have to acclimate to. Not as easy as it looks but sometimes confidence is part of the equation too. I could go on for a while trying to explain this mode of musical execution and just get tied up in the process of elucidation. It seems so easy but it’s not. That’s the elixir I always strive for.
By the end of the night I’m feeling good and taking a lot of musical chances. Sure I still stick to some sort of story line that I’ve applied for certain songs, but deviating minutely here that there to add more embellishment or lyrical quality to it. It might not sound so good to some ears, but it feels good to my soul and it keeps me engaged and focused on trying to be a better player. I’m looking forward to Wilmington, N.C. tomorrow night.