It’s summertime and the gigging is easy. Well, maybe not every day or week, but if you’re developing your show and getting some recognition, you might be able to book two or more shows in a single day. I have booked four such doubles gigs this year, and hope to do a few more before the end of the year. Here are some tips to help you keep your quality and sanity intact.
First, examine the logistics carefully before agreeing to “double up.” I live in North Texas, just outside Dallas, so that gives me a large metropolitan area in which to find work. However, traffic snarls can add precious minutes to an otherwise short trip, making arrival, setup and even the performance rushed and possibly late. It’s a fact of life that most drivers these days are texting, checking e-mail, applying makeup, eating, drinking or any number of other activities while behind the wheel. They are not paying attention to their driving! It’s a good idea to build in extra time “in case things go south,” so to speak. It’s a good idea to let clients know you are traveling to another performance so they can pay promptly or know they can’t request overtime on your part.
We discussed car care in a previous blog. Be sure you have enough fuel in your vehicle to get to both shows, if possible. Do your best to have everything you need before you leave. This may mean additional instruments, amps, lights, etc. Whatever you need, pack and bring it with you. For example, this weekend, I have a private party with my larger PA rig, electric guitar and amp processor, mics, etc. The second gig is a wedding on classical guitar for the ceremony and the electric rig for the cocktail hour afterwards. The first gig is outdoors by a pool in 100 degree weather while the wedding is indoors wearing a suit and tie. I will pack two outfits to cover the different apparel requirements. This way, I have what I need to pull off two very different gigs on the same day. Those of you who sweat abundantly may also need towels, deodorant, wet wipes, etc to clean up after a hot and/or humid show.
Taking care of your physical body is crucial, especially if you sing and play an instrument. Get a good night’s sleep, eat some fresh fruit and vegetables during the day and pack some extra food in case there is no opportunity to eat. Apples, pears and peaches, among other fruits, can remain in a hot car for a few hours without aging prematurely. Protein and Clif bars are a great idea; however, be careful where you store them and for how long. My wife has made a habit of keeping napkins in the glove box since our children were small. They come in handy while trying to consume Hot Pockets on a freeway at 70 mph!
Staying hydrated is an absolute necessity! Bring plenty of water and just like a football player in August or September, drink plenty of water during the day. Pass on the soda and alcohol, whether you’re singing or not. If youÕre interested in being a professional and getting paid like one, act the part. This also means saying no to any kind of drugs.
Stack the deck in your favor musically when doing two a days. That vocal run in the upper register of your voice is fine if you only have to sing it once a day. It’s no crime to pull back and use the lower register if you have to sing again in a different room with a different sound and a different crowd later the same day. Try to avoid overplaying or over singing when you’re double booked. Save some energy for the later show. If you want to go for it with the last audience, be my guest.
It’s a challenge but also rewarding to be able to perform more than one gig in a single day. Be prepared, pace yourself and enjoy the ride!