Waking up on stage

I’m sure a lot of touring musicians go through this: I’m deep in thought, striving to serve the song, microscopically in the moment of the note I’m playing while building the next second or two in my head. I’m attempting to glue the drummer to the singer rhythmically and harmonically, while focusing on giving the folks with their name on the marquee the best possible landscape to soar over. When all of a sudden they issue forth a sublime moment and I “wake up” to the reality that’s occurring; I’m on stage with an incredible artist!

It could be a new lick, rhythm, or a new interpretation of a melody I’ve heard hundreds of times. Whatever it is, something pulls me from the nutsand-bolts of the instant out into the big picture, and I am overwhelmed by a joyous wave of gratefulness. How did this happen? I’m so lucky! I get to be a part of this moment?

Suddenly I can see and hear the event from the outside, and now realize I’m in front of a bunch of really excited people who all paid for and eagerly awaited the show, brought their positivity in to the room and are offering it up selflessly to the band with joy and emotional presence. They just heard, or maybe only felt this beautiful moment, and everyone is lifted on stage and off. This is the sacred feedback loop, audience and band sharing joy and appreciation for each other.

Striving for that elusive payoff that occurs between a handful of players who bring their whole life’s work into focus on a single task together as one, moment by moment, can lead to the ultimate goal, making something greater than the sum of its parts. This is the synergy that can happen only when we do things as a group, and can’t predict the future. When someone in that “moment” takes a risk and changes something slightly that ignites another to do something new and great, to go somewhere they would not have gone on their own (and so on), and we are truly sounding like a vital unit that communicates with each other and the audience on a gut level.

In that moment we are doing what we set off to do when we started off down this difficult path in the first place, and for what I’m ever grateful, to make a joyful noise!


There are 10 comments on Waking up on stage

  • Colleen 'Cole' Tryön on

    💜moving writing Dan, thank you for sharing this!! most & lump building in swallowing down some JOY just from the words, they’re alive!!

  • That’s awesome Dan! I love the sacred feedback loop. It’s magical and the energy I have seen and heard so far from RR promises more to come. I am so excited you guys are all working together and with Liv and Ryan. A lot of talent in RR! Really hope you guys will make it to Colorado!

    • I agree with Alanna. Dan I’m so excited to see RR !! Hoping for a stop in the PNW !! Good luck with this new band. Looking forward to more. #tacomafan! ⭐️

  • Your command of the English language and the lyrical tone of your essay are just exquisite. Thank you for publishing this!

  • Such a phenomenal group of artists and musicians Blended together. I look forward to hearing more RR and the pure awesomeness you guys bring. Keep up that energy Dan. Peace and love.

  • That was beautifully written, Dan. I met you backstage last year in Buffalo, NY at the Darien Center and we talked about your camera gear and your co-production of Beautiful Broken with Nancy. That night I really noticed what a talented bass player you are and how in tune you are with everything going on around you.I was really impressed. I also noticed how you do it all with such a joyful spirit. You are an inspiration. Thank you for being you and radiating good the good vibes!

  • Sounds perfectly worded! Enjoy!

  • Gratitude. Not gratefulness. You Rock brotha!

  • You bring to mind a story I love – world without end.

    Now and then, a book catches my eye … I don’t put it down … the story stays with me … deep in my heart … the song echoes on ….

    One of these is called “Song of the Kingdom” by Andy Stone.

    I hope you will read this book … you are singing the same song.


    “The Song was the spirit of the Kingdom. The power of the Song held the kingdom together, and the kingdom turned the power of life itself back into the song.”

    “When the Great Kingdom fell into bleak disunity, and the Song was sealed by its last guardian into the highest of the mountains, only a handful of the legendary Singers of Skye were left to maintain and pass along the tradition of music through the (dreary) generations that followed. Now it has fallen to three young Singers … perhaps the last of their kind – to undertake the quest to release the Song and restore harmony to an embittered world.”

    “The three stood close, eyes searching each other’s faces as they played and sang, looking for the connection, trying to find the thread of the music they were playing.”

    “There was no fear in their minds any longer, only the music. The song shaped itself as they played, ragged ends finding a place within the whole, strings of notes settling together.”

    “… Lost in the song, Orin could feel the music trying to become and then becoming something he had heard before. Almost recognizable. What was it? And then, like rounding a shadowed corner into the full light of the sun, he knew. They were playing the Song of the One. The song of beginning, of the wholeness of the earth, the balance of the seasons, the smooth passage of time.”

    “… And there, deep within the woods where he had first learned the ways and the weight of the music, amid the trees whose song was the first he had ever truly known, Orin grasped the truth of what magic it had been that had loosened the spells of the Last Guardian and returned the Song to the kingdom.”

    “It was not that they had found the right music to play, but that they had played music, any music, and played it well. They had called their magic, and it, in turn, had called to the greater magic of the Song and set it free.”

    (From Song of the Kingdom by Andy Stone – book jacket/pp. 21, 28)

  • Can’t wait to share this emotion with you, but first we have to get you guys on the road so we can join in with you!

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