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Brian explains it like this. He has four kids. When he asks his kids to smile for a picture his four year-old ends up looking like a Sharpe. very time. His little face wrinkles up, his eyes squint shut. He looks nothing like he does when he's genuinely happy. Brian has zillions of pictures of this completely normal kid looking completely not normal.

That was the first show last night at the recording in Knoxville. The crowd was a large part folks from the blog and my message board I love, and who have loved me well over the years, people I really couldn't do what I do without, people who've followed the formation of this live recording, given money towards it, and realize it's importance and cost well. I wonder if that respect for the moment, that care for me and this project, that desire to see this thing be a success, got in the way of them acting, you know, like themselves.

The first song ended and there was no reaction. And it didn't suck so I thought that was odd. I almost puked right then and there. I knew we were in trouble. We weren't going to get a crowd on this recording. I'd told Brian this might happen. I recorded a few live songs a couple years ago as bonus material on a CD and this happened. Call it fear or whatever, I don't know, but something makes a crowd not act like they normally would when they know tape is rolling.

The entire first show people covered their mouths with two hands and coughed as lightly as possible, they wrote notes to each other instead of just talking, and they didn't laugh, clap or sing along. It was very clinical. Very unnatural. Very bad. And very sweet actually.

It was sweet to think that these people in the audience cared about what we were doing, didn't want to mess it up so did their best not to interfere, not to leave their mark. And wound up behaving a lot too much.

As a result my best vocals of the night probably aren't going to be used. They were all in the first show. I didn't save anything for show two. My fault. All the sound checking and rehearsing all week took it's toll. So when the crazy people in show two showed up clapping, laughing and having a great time, I sounded more like Neil Diamond than myself. Brian's pre-show pep talk about needing to act natural this time around saved the day, but couldn't save my voice. I wasn't all that on in the second show, but I played better, and I spoke better. Jokes landed. There were people to interact with and feed off of. Coughing. Chairs scooting. All the stuff that makes a live CD feel live. All the stuff that makes one of my shows one of my shows.

So, using the magic of our production guru Jim Dineen, we'll sift through all the parts, all 280 minutes of recorded material and pull out the best 60 or so. Most of it, I suspect, from show 2. Hopefully we'll Frankenstein together a good mix of good vocals, good playing and good crowd energy and make something we'll all like.

Thanks to everyone who showed up, regardless of which show you were in. And to the quiet folks in show one, thanks for caring so much. It really does mean a lot. To the folks in show two, thanks for bringing the rowdy we desperately needed.


Blogger GrovesFan said...

Sorry I missed it. I would've been rowdy.


Blogger Cristy said...

I'm sorry to say that some of the rowdy bunch in show #2 were the same people as the quiet bunch in show #1... I think you sounded as good or better in the second show anyway.

Blogger Thomas said...

You were great in both shows Shaun! Cristy, was right though. The same people who were quite in the first show were much louder in the second show.


Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Amy be rowdy both shows...or at least I tried. I was just louder in the 2nd show. Brian say be louder Amy be louder. Okay yes confession I wasn't as loud the first show because the crowd was just dead, d-e-a-d, dead as a door nail, dead. I can't work with dead crowds. Dead crowds are like zombies if you get bitten you become one. I made it out of the first show alive with no zombie bites but wow rough crowd. I think you had younger kids at the 2nd show...I think. But I had fun. I think my parents were embarassed to be with me the 2nd show. I screamed more, loudly, obnoxiously, and had fun doing it. We should do it again sometime.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Yea, some of the quiet folks did stick around and assimilate to the rowdy show 2 crowd. True. Thanks for that.

Anonymous euphrony said...

Put a large group of people together in one place and you get about the strangest and least predictable animal known to man. Crowds: who can figure them out. Having a wife in theatre, I have seen this many a time.

I couldn't be there for the shows (living in Houston, and being in Maine on business at the time) but I was praying for the whole thing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any way to mix the crowd from show #2 into the recording from show #1?

Seems like some of that could be done, but somehow, I'm guessing, you thought of that.

Either way, I'm anxious to buy a copy of the finished product.

It's weird, and I'm sure you know this better than me, too, but, in the long view, those seemingly-crappier vocal takes can wind up having more character than we first perceived.


Blogger Cristy said...

Brant's right...I think they did have more character and Justin said you seemed 'warmed up' the second time around. You may be surprised after you listen.


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