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I Will Return

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Posts: 715
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Hey all,

It's taken me over a week to own up to this as I'm still recovering from the shock!!

What's he been up to now I hear you all ask!

Well I did my first real Open Mic in front of a pub audience the Wednesday before last. It was quite nerve racking but I got through four songs. "Knockin On heavens Door", "Magarittaville ", "Tequila Sunrise" and finished with "Mrs Robinson.

I was talked into going there by a friend at work, Paul.

Arrived at the Pub, the Royal Oak at Gretton a village near Cheltenham, left my guitar in the car boot as I only intended to see what an Open Mic night was like before chancing it myself. Anyway met Paul who introduced me to the other players. I was offered a pint by Mike the organiser who turned to the barmaid and said this pint is free cause Chris is playing.

"To late now Chris" he said "you accepted the pint so you have to play"

Strangely I felt ok about it but I hadn't really worked out what I was going to play. Anyway when my turn came Mike plugged me into the PA system, introduced me and the said "well what are you going to play" I got out this huge folder of songs I'd compiled for myself and plonked it onto the music stand which creaked under the strain and I confessed I didn't know.

My first fist big mistake at an open mic "Know what you are going to play" and only have those songs in front of you. It weighs less too.

Anyway I still felt pretty calm and launched into the first song I could think of to keep me calm "Knocking On Heavens Door"
It went pretty well but near the end the nerves started to kick in. my fretting hand felt like rubber on the strings but managed to finish ok to claps and encouragement from the audence.

Don't panic Chris what shall I play next, keep calm. Ah "Margarittaville" Hey I'm doing ok here its going really well, note perfect no wavering of the voice and my fretting hand is not made of rubber any more. Then--- Hell! where did I put the other verses I've only go two. Bluff it Chris, repeat the verses they might not notice. Some of them did but I still got applauded.

So thats the second mistake "make sure you have the music in order"

I was learning fast here in this baptism of fire.

Anyway I then launched into "Tequilla Sunrise" It started well and then my heavy folder started to fall over backwards as the music stand gave up under the strain and I couldn't see the chords for the bridge. I sort of fudged it from memory but the song came to an ubrupt halt.
There was yet more ecouragement from the audience and this time laughter. I think I deserved to be booed off. These people were great.

Now what shall I play. Put the folder to one side and caught a glimse of "Mrs Robinson" before I put the folder down. I grabbed that quick in sheer desperation and thought well what have I got to loose. So I launched into the intro chords as loud as I could from memory of the the song and it worked. I got through the whole song pretty near perfect. It must have been a combination of blind panic and desperation to do well and to bow out as gracefully as I could.

I signalled to Paul and Mike that I'd had enough and thanked that great audience who had suffered my efforts long enough.

Wow, What a night Paul went on after me and treated the audience to some great playing and singing. Well he has been at it since he was eighteen and I'd guess he's in his early thirties now.

I'm glad I did it, it's what I've wanted to do since I took up guitar just over three years ago in the last year of my forties.

Will I go again? You're darn right I will! It was great.

So thanks Paul, Mike and everyone at The Royal Oak I'll see you real soon after I have sorted out a proper set of songs and practiced them.


The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)

Posted : 06/04/2007 9:41 pm
Posts: 1675
Noble Member

Congratulations! Great report, too.


When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~

Posted : 07/04/2007 12:21 am
Posts: 68
Trusted Member

Congratulations! It sounds like you had a good time. Reading posts like this has almost helped me get the courage up to try something like this. Make sure to give us another update when you go back for the second time.

Posted : 07/04/2007 12:23 am
Posts: 554
Honorable Member

Someday I'll gather up the courage to play in front of someone other than my dog. You make it sound so easy.

Posted : 07/04/2007 1:22 am
Posts: 5044
Illustrious Member

Great job Chris! Pretty soon you'll be an old pro, (no pun intended!), at playing live. :wink: :P 8) Congrats! :D


"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge

Posted : 07/04/2007 1:59 am
Posts: 715
Prominent Member
Topic starter

Thanks Margaret, Morpheus, causnorign and Dan

And Eric, I wouldn't say it was easy but I suppose it's a bit like learning to ride a bicycle. Once you manage it you don't want to get off.
That's the good thing about Dogs too Eric, unconditional love!


The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)

Posted : 07/04/2007 8:51 am
Posts: 3636
Famed Member

Hahaahhaahahah...Great report, Dogsbody.

Felt like I was there. I even applauded after Mrs. Robinson...always liked that song.

GOOD JOB!!!!! 8)


"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"

Posted : 07/04/2007 12:03 pm
Posts: 715
Prominent Member
Topic starter

Hi again everyone,

Well following Morpheus's request here is an update.

"Yes I returned" !, I did my second open mic at The Royal Oak last night. Strangely the nerves kicked in this time before I'd even left home. You know what its like. I get to the front door and that overwelming feeling in the pit of my stomach tells me that the bathroom is where I should be. Sort that out and back to the front door, pick up the keys and head for the car. Opp's these aren't the car keys. I'm not going to get far with the grarden shed keys. Back to the house no front door key either. ring my own doorbell to get Trish my wife to let me in again.

Finally I'm away on a beautiful spring evening, driving through the gorgeous cotswold countryside to Gretton and The Royal Oak. The nerves have subsided now at the thought of my one and only pint of real ale (soft drinks after that I'm afraid! can't drink and drive).

Well I get into the pub and meet up with Mike and Paul again. Mike and his mate who plays mandolin go on first and just before Mike ends the set he announces that Chris (me) or Paul will be on next and in whatever order. I nearly choked on that pint of real ale. Hell! we have only been here half an hour and I could be on next. Well, I was on next.

I sat down with my guitar, plugged in. Sound check done, nerves still ok because this time I'd brought my "new secret weapon". No more heavy ring binder crammed with tabs of songs in a jumbled mess. I'd learned from the last open mic. I had compiled a new slimline version only consisting of songs I'd practiced and all in sequence with the order I hoped to play them in.

So introduce myself and promise to the audience that I'll try to do better this time.

I start with a nice easy one, Eagles "Peaceful Easy Feeling" I was feeling ok and wondered when my nerve would fail. It went like a dream that song. Good rythem and no hesitation. I fairly belted it out and my voice stayed on key too. Big applause from the audience (probably relief that they didn't have to find another pub to enjoy their pint in just yet).

Next I went on to play, Dylan "You Ain't Going Nowhere" This went slightly wrong at the beginning, I'd done so well with the prevoius song that my rythem playing was still fixed into that song and I suddenly thought eh! this sounds wrong. Anyway I got back on track and did some justice to Dylan.

Then the big moment, I'd been practicing "The One I Love" by REM for quite a while at home. (Thanks Mattguitar on this site for the song lesson. See Easy songs forum). Well I decided to try it out. The vocals are a bit tricky on the song but I was feeling pretty pleased with my efforts so far. Wow I'd finally cracked it, some of the audience turned around and took a real interest in this hauntingly beautiful song I was attempting (well it is when REM do it!). It went ok, the odd hesitation here and there but they seemed to like it. More applause? yeah ok!

Fired up by this I did another try at "Margarittaville" which I failed dismally on the last time. I had all the verses this time and it went ok.

My big finish was to do my version of John Lennon's "Norwegian Wood" capoed on fret 2. I'd been practicing that for a good while too and because I know the lyrics backwards I could concentrate on getting the fretting and playing as good as possible.

I'd made it, a second open mic in the bag and no passes. I could have another drink now, curses!! I could only have a soft drink (You are driving Chris). Never mind can't have everything.

Paul's turn then. Yet again he did a brilliant set, and injected a lot of humour and adlibs in between his songs.

I got quite a few well done's from the the pub regulars and one even shook my hand and thanked me for having another go. I've still got a lot to learn about playing guitar and entertaining an audience but its great fun believe me. So get out and have a go at your local open mic!

Blimey I've rambled on here a bit but it was such a great night I had to pass it on.


Oh ps

Another mate from work was there last night and he secretly took video snippets on his camara. So I'll probably get some stick at work when he publishes the clips. He's on holiday for a week so I've got a slight reprieve. Maybe I'll post them on here if they are ok.

Thats all for now folks,


The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)

Posted : 12/04/2007 8:20 pm
Posts: 4472

Very well done, Chris! Both nights!

And don't ever apologizing about rambling... there's nothing at all like this in the world and I'm thrilled that you're getting a taste of it.

Can't wait to hear abuot your next one. Who knows? I'm probably going to have to start posting your appearances in the upcoming newsletters! :wink:


Posted : 13/04/2007 1:45 am
Posts: 715
Prominent Member
Topic starter

Many thanks David,

I forgot to plug the fact that it was your version of "Margarittaville" David from the "Lessons For Beginners" section on GN that I used in my set. Those lessons of yours have really brought my playing on since I discovered GN at the start of my guitar playing.


The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)

Posted : 13/04/2007 7:46 am
Posts: 2811
Famed Member

awesome stuff chris, good read. Grats on getting out there. Sounds like you learned a lot, and have taught us a lot as a result :)

Posted : 13/04/2007 7:59 am
Posts: 1128
Noble Member

way to go chris! congrats 8)

even god loves rock-n-roll

Posted : 14/04/2007 12:40 am
Posts: 10264
Illustrious Member

Great stuff Chris, thrilled to bits for you mate!!!

Only one Beatles song though? To be rectified at future performances one hopes! It's great you got such a blast out of it, but isn't it amazing what you forget when it's YOU up there! First time I got up, I was going to do Bad Moon Rising - it's only been one of my favourite songs for near enough 40 years, but all I could remember was the first verse - mind a total blank! I had to do Proud Mary instead - including the dreaded Bb chord!

You've inspired me mate - I'm determined now to start going back to the pub on a Tuesday again. Haven't been since last year, when I injured my hand - and the longer I put off going, the harder it seems to pluck up the courage to go back again.

Well done again mate - look forward to hearing more reports!

*Looks up directions on that's the M6 down to Junction 8, join the M5 as far as junction 9, then the A46 and the B4077 and hope to hell it's signposted.....*

*Looks up directions to the pub for that's left at the gate, turn left after 200 yards, turn right after 300 yards, pull up a stool......*

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Posted : 16/04/2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 715
Prominent Member
Topic starter

Hi Vic,

Thanks mate!

Yeah go for it Vic get down on that stool at the "Victoria" (that' the pub isn't it)? Nice and close to home Vic, means you can have a couple to calm your nerves too. Yes it is nerve racking but there is nothing like it once you get into those songs.

You have the directions dead right to my open mic pub too, it's just up the hill on the left as you leave Gretton for Winchcombe. You know that little town with a castle where Huge Grant's ex got married recently.

If you make it there I'll buy you a drink. Might be going there again next Wednesday. I'll have to practice more Beatles stuff. I'm so inspired by it all that I treated my guitar to a proper hard case as it's come close to getting "dinged" over the past couple of weeks.

I might even be able to inspire Rodders to have a go too you never know.

Cheers for now,


The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)

Posted : 16/04/2007 7:34 pm
Posts: 1086
Noble Member

Well you kept that very quiet Chris !!!!!!
I had to come here to read about it !!!!!!

Just kiding, well done old man.

You may be able to get me over there soon, but give me a little while to get used to the idea. I'm learning or should I say re-learning some other songs at the moment.

Do you know if we are playing at Elaines this year ? As theyt have three bands there already one wonders if we are required after last years episode. :oops:

Be excellent to each other & party on dudes!

Posted : 19/04/2007 9:59 pm
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