What makes a great live show? Ted Ferris asks four artists
Ted Ferris is a huge fan of live music so he’s been using his recent interviews to get musicians’ takes on what makes a great live show. Here are some of their answers.
The best time is when you kind of just lose yourself in it – where you’re almost not aware of your surroundings; you’re kind of just lost in the music, that you’re almost in a different dimension. I love playing live and will continue to play live and go on the road because I always get off on that when it happens. You’re always hoping for those moments, but you can’t force it. You just hope that happens.”
I think a huge part of it actually is the audience… I’m willing to meet them as far as they want to go, but if you feel them pulling back, or it’s maybe a little too much, then it’s like, “OK. We’re going to get to level six out of 10. We could’ve gone further, but you want to stop there. OK, we can stop there. And those are fine. Those are still fun shows. When someone in the audience is like captive with you, and they really want to go as far as you’re willing to go, those are like spiritual moments… It can be a pretty powerful thing… I don’t think I’ve ever left the stage and said that I’ve done a great job… I’m always a very harsh critic of myself. So I’ll never feel like that was the best. But when an audience member comes up to me afterward and says something, even though I’m not stoked about the show, if they say, “This is what this means to me, or has meant to me,” or something, that’s like – hands down, that’s why I’ve been doing it.”
A good show for me involves an audience that’s attentive and supportive and just ready to hear some stories and share some laughs. I think the audience has everything to do with it. It can be in any venue. It doesn’t matter, but if the people who are there are ready to have a good time and hear some music and give me the space that I appreciate so greatly to do what I do, then it’s going to be a good night, regardless. And I think that when the audience is good, the stories start flowing, and the laughs start flowing.
People want to escape for like 45 minutes. They want to escape from all of the problems in the world. And I do think that we can find peace in awareness. We can acknowledge the things that we need to work on as people, but also somehow have a good time and enjoy the life that we have in this amazing country. And so I think that there is an element of escape that’s driven by positivity and hope that I really think is important right now in music and with the social climate. And I think that having a good time and expressing and sharing in emotional vulnerability is really important too – so kind of the full spectrum of like havin’ all the feels but keeping it real with where we’re at and the things we need to address.
Andrew: I like to leave feeling like there was a chance taken in what we’re doing and leave not feeling that I feel like it was a missed opportunity.
Miranda: One of my favourite things that happened… reminds me of always making sure that you’re not making a judgement about the audience and yourself and how you are in a certain room or performance. We played in this tiny little UK town, and we were playing upstairs of the pub in this giant sort of spacious area, and it was packed to the hilt… There was an old lady in the front row, and I looked out, and I just thought, “Oh god, she’s just going to get blasted. She’s going to hate this. She’s going hate us.” And I had that in my head, and then she just loved it so much, and she was toe-tapping and clapping along, and I thought, “Right, right, it’s not up to me to make judgements about how their going to take us. It’s up to me and us to give people something they might not expect and just be as authentic as possible, and then it will read, and they will have a great time… I remind myself of that any time I ever start getting that little value judgement.