My First On-stage Guitar Performance
Ok friends. I did it. I finally played my own guitar on stage in front of at least 200 people. In hindsight, it could have been managed in a much better way but probably it is better as it happened.
It was a part of our annual forum of the college called ZENITH 2007. It was only a day before the actual event that I was approached to play guitar for the chief-guest as part of a set of events for his welcome. The situation was such that I had to perform due to shortage of other events. But this was not the only constraint! The song could not be romantic or extreme in any way as it was to be performed in front of the chief-guest. Oh what the hell! Why should that matter? But it had to be that way…
So, in the afternoon of the day before (the time when I came to know about all this!), I sat with my friend who was to sing while I played my guitar. The biggest hurdle was to finalize a song which should not only be good to hear, but playable on a guitar and of course, not a romantic one. We thought of many songs like Doorie by Atif Aslam, Neele Neele Ambar par, Dooba Dooba (Silk Route) before deciding on Tu Aashiqui hai from the movie Jhankar Beats. It was a hit among the students and was inclined more towards the theme of God… at least that’s what we were to say if anybody objected. The fact was nobody could have objected us before the event as it had had to happen!
So, after we had a song in our pocket, I spent my evening finding the chords for the song. It turned out to be a difficult job than I had anticipated. The song didn’t seem to be a common one for websites. After more searches for audio/video recordings of that song, I deduced the strumming pattern. I had decided to practice (?!) with my friend in the night. I knew I had to sacrifice that night’s sleep if the performance had to be anything more than a fiasco. Meanwhile, I went to another of my friend’s place to guide me for tomorrow. After all, this was to be my first stage performance and I couldn’t let it go down the drains. At 10’o clock, I was at my friend’s flat with my guitar and praying that his voice matches the scale that I had planned for the chords. We practiced till 3am when sleep started to seem unavoidable. Leaving the next day for God to decide, we went to sleep.
We had planned to go early to college so that we could get some practice with the mike. But alas, due to my inherent problems of never being able to reach any place on time, we couldn’t practice on the mike. We directly performed with the mike on stage!
I could feel the silence as I sat on stairs of the stage, taking my position. As I looked up, I saw every face watching me expectantly. This was it. They were all waiting to hear whatever I was going to play. I had been playing for the past one & a half years, but most of the time I was alone or amongst friends. Often I used to feel that I needed audience! But now I had a huge audience in front of me and also obediently silent as well! I played a few strokes of the G chord to adjust the mike. I had decided in my sleep itself that I wouldn’t look up once I had started playing until I had finished with it, due to the fear of making a mistake or even a blunder. I knew most of the audience were illiterate and wouldn’t notice if I missed a chord, but I wanted it to be perfect. After all, ears are already trained to listen to music, not to recognize them! I nodded in my friend’s direction to tell him to go ahead. There was a loud cheer as he voiced the first phrase. That felt good, but I decided even more not to let myself drift and to look only towards the left hand. Soon I started playing the chords. A… A… G… back to A. I felt I was back at my friend’s flat. Everything felt normal… but is this how it should be? Was I sounding good or not? What were the people thinking? I was yearning to look at their expressions of delight, wonder. But I kept on playing without taking my eyes off the guitar, even when the camera’s flash reflected against it. Soon it was over. It all felt so good that I was regretting not to have played the whole song. (We played only single antra.)
But we had done it! On a day’s notice, I had not only practiced a completely new song, but had played it on stage as well, without a single mistake. It wasn’t a fiasco! But quite an appreciable performance! My first on-stage guitar performance was a success! Whooofff!