Do you usually feel overwhelmed on the day of the big show? I have, hell, most of the time, I feel like I don’t even get to enjoy what I love to do because I have SO DAMN MUCH to do the day of the show! Well, it doesn’t have to be that way! We can/should be pacing this bad boy out, so we don’t feel like we’re drowning.
If you feel like I’ve missed something, or I’m overly cautious, let me know in the comments below!
A month before the show
- Have your lineup ready – You should have all your ducks in a row at this point, everyone should have more than enough time to clear their schedules and be committed to practicing and learning all their parts. Try to make your first meeting with everyone precisely a month before the show! This gives everyone a real chance to learn and have their roles feel natural.
- Start promoting the show – Last time you had a show, did you look out and see a handful of people in the crowd? I have been doing this for a while, I know the answer is yes! I firmly believe the reason for this is that you’re not promoting far enough in advance. When you advertise with enough time, you make the gig feel like an event! This is important! Because I almost always want to be at an event! Make a poster for the concert! Make it something that if someone doesn’t make it out, they say to themselves, “Damn, I wish I would’ve gone to that!” This doesn’t mean you have to have a smoke machine and lasers. If that’s not your vibe, don’t do that! There are plenty of ways to make it an event, even if you’re simply a singer/songwriting! If you need some help planning it out, drop a line in the comments, and I would love to help you with some ideas that fit your style!
- Have your set planned out – I swear I relearn this once a month. Whatever the setlist says, goes. Don’t add something at the last minute. Don’t audible up on stage. Just do what you planned! A HUGE part of sounding tight is deciding well in advance what you’re going to do up on stage! Think of your favorite bands, they don’t wing it! Even if they look like they are, it’s all part of the act! A month from the show, you should have every song listed, everything planned out to the last beat of the show! Oddly enough, this is one of the most freeing lessons I’ve ever learned!
- Meet with the band – I briefly spoke on this before, but you should have your first meeting with the full group a month before the gig. Work out parts, everyone knows what they need to work on. It’s okay if you don’t have the songs down at this point, you’re teaching them now, and now they have more than enough time to get comfortable! Take charge of this meeting. Before the meeting, write down the points you want to make to everyone. Don’t be afraid of stopping someone from noodling. You have a short amount of time to practice. You have to focus. If the practice is over 2 hours, plan a break for everyone to do whatever they want. This helps everyone focus-up when they need to!
A week of the show
- Stage Plot – You should know who’s bringing what, and how it’s going to fit on stage.
- Instrument Maintenance – When was the last time you put new strings on your guitar? Please don’t answer that aloud, I don’t want to know! You’re a sick bastard treating it like that! There are plenty of places to get your instrument all fixed out and sounding at their best! I love my guitar guy Brendan at The Music Store on Mesa (It’s off of Baseline and the 101). He’s affoardable, fast, and an all-around great guy, he restrings my and intonates my babies! I do this once every 6 weeks. If I have a big show, I’ll get it done a week before the show (just to make sure I have enough time to let the strings set in). Never put new strings/heads on the day of the gig, you’re just asking for problems.
- Run those random errands you need to run – Let’s say you wanted to pick up a new outfit for the show. I get it! Get this done four or five days before the show! Make it so that you don’t have a damn thing to do on the big day! Picking up lights for this show? Get it done now! If you’re constructing something for the show, your deadline for that piece is two weeks before the show.
What to do the day before the show
- Print setlists – Don’t be a chump and print them the day of the show. The day before the show, you should have the order down. Hell, you should have that down well before the gig, but this is the day we print everything we need to. Maybe you had to cut a song (totally fine! It’s better to cut than to add, leave them wanting more. I’d rather hear a tight 45 than a loose hour). Print a setlist for every single member and one extra for the person running sound (or the bandmember that misplaces the setlist, it happens almost every time). Type on the setlist when you want to promote yourself when/who you have to thank for the gig. When you want to introduce the band. All of that! You WILL NOT REMEMBER to do that on stage. I am figuratively the worst at that.
- Pack everything and stage it – Don’t leave any instruments in your vehicle the night before. It will detune in the temperature change or get stolen. Put everything that won’t detune or that isn’t incredibly valuable in the car, but everything else right next to the door, ready to go. This also serves as a checklist for tomorrow. I’m always stressed I’ll forget something the day of the show! Don’t sweat it! All you have to do is set up the night before! Have your outfit set out and ready to wear.
- Drink a gallon of water – Do you sing? Maybe you don’t? I don’t care! Drink water! You’re giving your body the fuel it needs to perform at 100% you’ll find that you recall things faster when you’re well-hydrated! I know I’m always preaching this, but I do it because I love you!
- Remind your crew – Send a text with the setlist, what to wear, when they’re supposed to be there (30 mins before you actually need them there), and the address.
- Get eight hours of sleep before the show – Discipline my loveliness! You have to sleep! Since we’ve gotten everything done leading up to the show, we can relax and actually enjoy what we love to do!
What to do the day of the show
Overall, you really don’t want to do very much different than what you do every day. You do not want to start a new diet on the day of your big show! The stomach won’t know what to do. You don’t want to go on a big run the day I have a big show do you do every day. Please don’t mix up your routine too much, but there are a few things that we can implement to make us feel a little bit looser and healthy and to be our best selves for the upcoming show. If you want to change a diet or something with overall health or routine. Start this a week before the show. That being said, you’re a few things that you can do to really be your best self.
- Stretch when you wake up – Dedicate 20 minutes to this. Today you want to be loose, in body and in mind. I know this sounds silly. But you’ll be thankful you did! It shouldn’t surprise you how tight you’ll be! When we take the time to stretch, we’re creating a mindset that will follow us throughout the day!
- Drink half a gallon of water – don’t over-hydrate the day of the show. You will have to pee on stage, it is the worst. You still want to drink enough to stay at 100%, though! Half a gallon should be more than enough!
- Eat something light – Don’t weigh yourself down, don’t eat anything abundant today! Make sure you’re consistently eating throughout the day. Don’t go hungry. You’re messing with your body and not allowing yourself to perform at 100%.
- Warm-up when you wake up – If your guitarist, don’t run the set; just warm up. Let me point out something undeniably obvious. The day of the show is not the time to learn your parts. You should have already got that down. If you’re a vocalist, warm up when you wake up, nothing hard! Just be loose!
- Dedicate thirty mins to do nothing that relates to the show – This helps you actually enjoy the show. Watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers, read, talk with friends. Just take your mind off the show and relax for a little before the show!
- Get to the venue early – Are you supposed to be there at 5pm? Be there at 4:30! Give yourself time to deal with the problems that will come up. Don’t trick yourself into believing its gonna go smooth. Something always happens! Being there early gives you time to deal with the problem! If you’re leading the group, someone will get lost (even after you’ve given them directions). It’s okay! Your job is to be ice-cool, baby. The world is crashing around you, and you’re freaking James Dean. Nothing gets to you.
After The Show
- After the show – This is cheating a little bit, and maybe this sounds douchey, but I want you to get two of your friends to pack up your stuff while you talk to the people that came out to see you. I understand that this will make some of you uncomfortable. It makes me feel awkward, but these people came out to see YOU! If you feel overly guilty, pay them $5 bucks each! Not a big deal, but it makes a HUGE difference with the fans!
Precrastinate my lovely! Don’t wait till the day of the show to get everything together! Move all that stress up and spread it out through the upcoming month! I promise you’ll enjoy your set if you do these things!
Have anything special you like to do before the show to help make it more enjoyable? Share with me in the comments! As always, I appreciate your likes, sharing and subscribing to this blog! Love you guys!