The same, but different…
It’s amazing to me how different “the same” show can be every night.
Being on tour, we are playing, at least on paper, the same show, every night. But it never feels exactly the same. For myself, it’s not so much the specific events, or notes that get played that are so different. It’s how different it can feel.
Now, I’m very focused right now on getting myself in good shape. Mainly through yoga. Yoga focuses on alignment of the body, and symmetric movement, as well as breath, energy flow, and a clam state of mind. The Blue Man show by nature (at least for drummers) is a very asymmetric show. It’s very right hand and right foot driven. That’s just the way the parts are written, as well as the way a traditional drum set is designed. The way the hands cross over for the Hi Hat/Snare Drum combo, and the fact that the right foot plays the largest drum on the entire kit, while the left foot plays a dainty pair of light weight cymbals. That’s a very different workload.
All of this, compounded by the poor shape I was in, caused things like my right leg to sit in the hip socket differently than my left foot. I began noticing it during yoga sessions when I was looking at my feet during forward bends. My right foot wasn’t really flat on the ground like my left. All of this, (I’ve learned through years of talking to body specialists and chiropractors) causes all kinds of fun stuff with your back like misalignment, and other muscles working too hard just to keep everything together. Which leads to your back throwing out. Which is not fun, but it’s something that happens, and in fact happened to me last week. With the help of some ibuprofen, I was able to do the show, albeit a rather safe, ‘keep-your-spine-straight’ show- but I’ve been doing this stuff long enough that I can still play a professional level show, even when I’m hurting.
So that’s one extreme of something that’s going to affect how I feel during a show. But even aside from all of that, I still find that the show takes on a wide range of different ‘feels’ from night to night, show to show. A lot does have to do with how I’m actually feeling on any given day. And my work out routine has a lot to do with that, which is no suprise either. But at a time in my life where the show is almost the only constant, (different city, time zone, schedule, food, bed to sleep in, etc) I’m hyper aware of how much this one constant thing fluxes.
Some nights my head can feel foggy, and others I’ll really feel clear, and it’s easy to be in the game. Some times I’ll really feel like everything is easy, and other nights everything is a struggle.
My thought before tour was that I would have a sort of ‘straight line’ trajectory for my improvement with how I was playing the show, and how much effort I was putting out for the show. I would just get a little better every show, and very soon be in a state of effortless flow. Instead, it seems as if I’m riding a wave of sorts. Some days are good, some are bad, and some are pretty darn good. I’ve had shows where I’ll have a sort of breakthrough, and feel like I’m really getting it, and all I have to do is just play the show like this. Just remember this one thing, and I’m golden! But what works for me one day, doesn’t necessarily work on another day.
The good news is that my overall trajectory is moving in a good direction. The ‘hard’ shows that I have now are quite a bit easier than the hard shows I had at the beginning of tour. So while I’m riding a wave of ups and downs from day to day, the bigger picture is that I am on an upward trajectory. So I keep trying to get better, and even though I can have a great show one day, and a mediocre one the next, I try to keep sight of the bigger picture to keep myself from getting discouraged.
Once again, this blog took on a different direction than I had expected when I started, but that seems to be the way these things go…
And once again, thanks for reading.