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  #1  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:14 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default What to do when audience starts crying?

Played an impromptu gig last night for some friends in an old-timey pub. Mostly drums but played a couple where I was acoustic-guitar/Vox.

About halfway through a moderately emotional song when I made the mistake of thinking I had to make eye-contact with the audience. I look up and three of the women are bawling.. They're not just shedding a tear, but full-on-all-out-snot-running-freely bawling... And I stupidly made eye contact, which triggers the empathetic contagion (because one of my parents was human) and BLAMO, it hits me.

Needless to say, I blew a verse because my vocal cords constricted tighter than a (insert joke here).

What do you guys do when this happens?
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

I don't know... I've never made the audience cry with my playing (for whichever reason). What song were you guys playing? I will make a note not to play that song anytime soon ...
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

Pull a Ricky Gervais and point and laugh?
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

I think it probably has to do with a very sad association to the song rather than your personal performance. No offense at all intended, and at any rate, if you can get people to feel something with your playing, you're doing it right.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:26 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
What song were you guys playing? I will make a note not to play that song anytime soon ...
Was playing "Strangers" by the Kinks, and despite the simple drum part, is surprisingly hard to sing and drum simultaneously.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:27 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I think it probably has to do with a very sad association to the song rather than your personal performance. No offense at all intended, and at any rate, if you can get people to feel something with your playing, you're doing it right.
Indeed, though my ego would like to think it was a bit of both.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

I've made people cry with my playing, including myself. *rimshot*

Okay, on a serious note, that's a GREAT sign, imo. If you're eliciting that strong of an emotional response from your performance, you're doing something right.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

What song were you playing?

Never mind, pretty sure it's this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p71c6Yu1Fg0
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:54 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
Okay, on a serious note, that's a GREAT sign, imo. If you're eliciting that strong of an emotional response from your performance, you're doing something right.
I get that, and am appropriately and sincerely humbled.. But outside of that...

How do you cope with it and keep playing the song? PLAN A was to look at a different audience member... But the second pick was also crying... So I tried a third... another crying... and I was (forgive me Grunt) fucked. Could not sing.. at all. Third verse had an extended 12-bar-intro while I tried to compose myself.

PLAN B was to hand-off the vocals to one of the other band members, but they all saw what was happening and found it amusing to torture me or something. Made it difficult to pretend I forgot the words when trying to save face afterward.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:56 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
What song were you playing?

Never mind, pretty sure it's this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p71c6Yu1Fg0
All day long, I've had The Corrs "Breathless" stuck in my head....

Thank you for fixing that.
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2018, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
All day long, I've had The Corrs "Breathless" stuck in my head....

Thank you for fixing that.
That little up-swing in the pitch as he sings "re-serve" is quite catchy, eh?
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Old 07-06-2018, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
I get that, and am appropriately and sincerely humbled.. But outside of that...

How do you cope with it and keep playing the song? PLAN A was to look at a different audience member... But the second pick was also crying... So I tried a third... another crying... and I was (forgive me Grunt) fucked. Could not sing.. at all. Third verse had an extended 12-bar-intro while I tried to compose myself.

PLAN B was to hand-off the vocals to one of the other band members, but they all saw what was happening and found it amusing to torture me or something. Made it difficult to pretend I forgot the words when trying to save face afterward.
I can empathize with your dilemma and I don't know what the answer is. Music moves me to tears, and outright sobbing, pretty easily. But I find I can handle that behind the drums. If I had to sing, I'm not sure I could pull that off.
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

What do I do? I stop playing. That always makes people happy ;)
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Old 07-07-2018, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

We had this once, touching story behind it.

My last band had a song 'Paper Rose' and to a girl it was her favourite song. Her new boyfriend actually made her a Paper Rose with the lyrics printed on it soon into when they started dating and to her that was the moment he became 'the one'

They came to our last show they told us the story beforehand (we had never met them before) and we played it and dedicated the song to them as they embraced. The whole room went crazy for them too if I remember correctly.

Still one of the finest, touching, gig memories I've ever had the pleasure of being involved in.
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Old 07-07-2018, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

One of our students (age 15) was killed in a car accident. I was conducting the senior choir for the funeral in the school chapel. The place was packed to overflowing.
We were doing OK until her 5 year old brother went up and placed a teddy bear on her coffin. 1000 people crying their eyes out, including myself and all the other teachers.

Thatís when the choir had to sing the 23rd Psalm, starting with a soprano solo. That girl sang two bars before she choked up and couldnít go on. So I got the whole section to join in. Between them they managed to just get through. Incredibly sad yet moving experience.

So I canít offer much advice on how to sing when youíre crying, except to get as many helpers as you can. And the audience wonít mind, theyíll feel more connected with you.
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Old 07-07-2018, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

I've never seen that. Are you sure she didn't step on a piece of broken glass or something? :)

I cried once onstage in 2012. We were playing a very emotional song, and our star bass player...she was moving to Nashville shortly, and between that and the song we were playing, Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is", I lost it. Not bawling, but tearing up and I couldn't play as well.

As an aside, my band's former star bass player? Presently, she enjoys the position of being Robben Ford's bass player.

So she's done good for herself. Moving to Nashville was a smart move. Her name is Ryan Madora.

Still, I think it's great that you made her cry. It's all about bringing out some kind of feeling in people.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

The only people who cry when I play are babies. Occasionally dogs, too.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

Never seen this either, but a guitar player friend played a club gig where someone in the crowd died, had a heart attack. Talk about a bad gig.
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Old 07-08-2018, 03:28 AM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Never seen this either, but a guitar player friend played a club gig where someone in the crowd died, had a heart attack. Talk about a bad gig.
The current bass player in my band had a mini heart attack onstage. They took him away and he had stents (I think) installed.

That story gets told almost everytime we play that song, which lately is only a handful of times a year.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:37 PM
J-Boogie J-Boogie is offline
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

U elicited from your audience (and not just one random person but several!) one of the most powerful emotional responses possible via your playing. Id say bravo, well done sir! Thats the ultimate goal right? I mean I may swing more towards elation and joy, but hell, why not wield your mighty powers to bring the room down into a trembling puddle of tears. You're like the darth vader of music....thats pretty awesome

Last edited by J-Boogie; 07-08-2018 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:40 PM
J-Boogie J-Boogie is offline
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I've never seen that. Are you sure she didn't step on a piece of broken glass or something? :)

I cried once onstage in 2012. We were playing a very emotional song, and our star bass player...she was moving to Nashville shortly, and between that and the song we were playing, Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is", I lost it. Not bawling, but tearing up and I couldn't play as well.

As an aside, my band's former star bass player? Presently, she enjoys the position of being Robben Ford's bass player.

So she's done good for herself. Moving to Nashville was a smart move. Her name is Ryan Madora.

Still, I think it's great that you made her cry. It's all about bringing out some kind of feeling in people.
WOW!!! Go Ryan........
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:42 PM
J-Boogie J-Boogie is offline
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
The current bass player in my band had a mini heart attack onstage. They took him away and he had stents (I think) installed.

That story gets told almost everytime we play that song, which lately is only a handful of times a year.
They call that Buddy Riching.....
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  #23  
Old 07-09-2018, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

Audience crying? No it's more me-I'm getting all sappy in my old age and certain visuals or songs remind me of something or someone then I start tearing up. Some incredible stories posted on here-very moving. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
The current bass player in my band had a mini heart attack onstage. They took him away and he had stents (I think) installed.

That story gets told almost everytime we play that song, which lately is only a handful of times a year.



The song wasn't 'Knocking on Heavens Door' was it?

'Don't Fear the Reaper?
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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The song wasn't 'Knocking on Heavens Door' was it?

'Don't Fear the Reaper?
Lol no.

No one will ever guess either.

Never.

So here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaeOyfcLPO8

Etta James singing the original version of "Damn Your Eyes"
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

I play at church a couple of times at church each month, and it happens all of the time. I concentrate on playing the notes and let folks have their "moments." I don't make a lot of eye contact.
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
I play at church a couple of times at church each month, and it happens all of the time. I concentrate on playing the notes and let folks have their "moments." I don't make a lot of eye contact.
When you have do an eye contact, will it melts your heart seeing them crying? lol.
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

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When you have do an eye contact, will it melts your heart seeing them crying? lol.
It has before! Gaaahhh!!! :)

I don't know, but I'm afraid it will break my concentration. At my church we have performance tracks along with a click track with auditory cues popping off in our IEM's. On my Sundays to play, I have to play the whole set four times (one rehearsal, three services). By the time third service rolls around, it's sometimes difficult to remember exactly where I am if my mind starts to wonder off. I'm easily distracted...especially by that point in the day.
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  #29  
Old 08-28-2018, 04:04 PM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

I think you can't do anything instead of giving an humble smile to the audience who showed you so much love that they even started crying.
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

like most everything else...practice.

Get yourself on the edge of your various emotions while practicing and get used to it...figure out your triggers and use em.

This applies to aggression as well...and any other emotion you can feel.


on a related concept, a great exercise is to sit at your set and pick a random word from the dictionary and try to express it with everything you have.
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  #31  
Old 10-06-2018, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: What to do when audience starts crying?

This happened to me once.

This band I was in just for the fun of it did a cover of "Luxury of Tears" by Christain Death, as this tribute to the late Rozz Williams, who originally wrote and sang on the song.

We're playing it this little club. Gitane Demone, who played on the original recording, walks in. She comes to the front of the stage, and gets overwhelmed with emotion (as it's a rather sad song) and starts crying. So William Faith (who was also in Christian Death for a while, but wasn't on this particular record) walks over to her to console her.

I'm looking at Gitane, Gitane is crying, which almost made me want to cry (and I really have no connection to Rozz). But I had a click going on in my headphones because some of the keyboards are sequenced, so I had to hold it together for that (I did, but barely).

My first and only time performing a cover in front of someone who was on the original record.
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