<...>. Quite often nobody notices if you fudge the lyrics, repeat chorus lines <...>
When in doubt, mumble or scat ;-)
Many years ago I was playing in a disco band. We learned a Lou Rawls song that day and the singer/guitarist didn't have the words memorized yet. So he wrote them with a red pen and hung them up above us on the board that hid the stage lights. We started the song, and the DJ who alternated sets with us and also controlled the lights washed the stage with red lights and the words disappeared - nothing, not even a clue was visible. He sang the first verse 3 times, nobody but the band seemed to notice and we could hardly suppress the giggles.
IMHO the best music is played without thinking about the technical part of the song. The technical parts get memorized. That's what practice is for, so that you can forget about the notes, words, fingerings, or whatever and pour your emotion out in the song -- get into the so-called "right brain".
Oh yeah, There ain't nothing better than getting to the point with a song where the fingers, body and voice are set on automatic, and you, yourself can become an actual listener.
The thing is you are out there having a go and having fun and thats what it's all about. Quite often nobody notices if you fudge the lyrics, repeat chorus lines or even miss out the odd chord. They tend to appreciate the fact that you have the nerve to even be out there.
Definitely true, there was some performance when I was 14 about dreams and chasing them, the guy was doing a monologue to show most people have nothing to show when put put on a stage. He called for anyone to get on stage and do something, which ended in some arrogant douchebags making huge asses out of themselves by just trying to be macho.
My friends got me to go up there and I did a monologue/story in rhyme of my own. Lack of preparation ended with me making up the second verse, no one even noticed I just repeated parts when I was still thinking. Getting more experience with audiences and stages the most important thing is enjoying yourself, people see the glow you have which is what they enjoy. I've seen people being technically better dancers, but not moving the audience because it's just rehearsed and not with soul. If you enjoy yourself you can get away with most things and still get a good response, don't be afraid to laugh with it (or even admit it to the audience).
I've got no problem at all having a good laugh at myself when I mess up. Heck I laugh at myself every morning when I face the mirror. Its just frustrating when you KNOW you've played song X 300 times but can't remember it. Was it someone on this forum that said..."People practice so the do not make mistakes. Professionals practice until they CAN'T make mistakes". Anyhows, mistakes and all, I'll never stop playing.
Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.