Monday, August 5, 2013

Cramping during a performance

Howdy all,

I'm sure we have all gone through this at one time or another... Cramping!!! You know, when a muscle spasms to the point that you experience intense pain and can't use the named muscle. Well, this week my acoustic band, The Tannins, played a good sized plaza gig with an audience of around 500 consistent people in Claremont, California. It was a typical summer day on the far eastern edge of Los Angeles county. Temperatures were around 90* in direct sunlight. Set up was the normal 1 hour with a little time to grab a bite and something to drink before performing. Basically, everything was going the way it is supposed to. The show got off to a typical start. The band was settling in. Then it happened. I began cramping in my left hand at the start of the second of three sets. If you don't know, this is pretty debilitating to a guitar player!!! I had two hours of performing left and nothing to offset the spasms. So by force of will, some prior experience, and a little luck I managed to play through. I reconfigured some of my chord voicings on the fly, had to play with modified fingering, and even dropped out totally a couple of times... YIKES!!! For all of it, no one seemed to notice a drop off in my performance (I have not decided if that is a good thing or not). Hopefully, the people familiar with our music figured that I was just stretching out musically. Whatever the case, I was also reminded of how I should have taken the extra moment to carry some Gatorade and cramping tablets with me. I was traveling light and had not cramped in a long, long time during a performance. So, I left the extra weight at home. Frankly, I was just too lazy to pick it up when I left the house for this gig. Lesson learned. I was in so much pain the next day that I could barely move my left hand. So for all you players out there: Always carry back-up! You only need it when you need it...

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