I wished I’d have taken an extra breath before walking onto the Coliseum stage in Manila last week. The 11,000 strong audience was the largest ever to attend one of our headlining “intimate” acoustic performances. I can’t think of a room as grand or recall a crowd as excited.
According to astrology and the calculations shared with me about my human design, I have a gate open that can’t help but feel and feed the needs of others. Such as, if there’s a person in the room who isn’t enjoying the party, I will bring myself down to their level to empathize with them, or make it my mission to see they enjoy the party. I’ve been know to flee physically or mentally because the pressure of their unhappiness becomes mine and is too much to bear.
I took the stage in Manila with that gate open, experiencing the very level of excitement and anticipation the crowd was conjuring. 11 thousand pairs of eyes and ears all directed at us, which tricked me into thinking the experience of 11 thousand was on my shoulders. Consumed with thought while playing songs I hadn’t attempted in years, I slipped in and out of consciousness wondering if the essence of the songs were being received all the way at the top of the arena. I would bounce back and forth between the support of the lyrics reminding me that I won’t worry my life away, and the future conversations I would have with my agent and management to please not book me in rooms built for sport. My music at heart is made up of mellow, lyric driven compositions. That is especially obvious on this acoustic tour and I simply haven’t the tools to keep a Coliseum quiet.
However, keeping a Coliseum at bay is a made-up demand. By the sound of the crowd at the end of the show, no one noticed what was going on in my head. The audience would have accepted anything I gave them as they did with my inaudible and apparently invisible shortcomings that night. Don’t let your mind stop you from having a good time right?
The experience in Taipei a few nights later was the complete opposite, not just because of the beautiful theatre or well tuned sound system or the smaller crowd of 3500, but largely due to our taking one extra breath to be in the moment just before we walked onstage. That changed everything. Of course, the lessons from the Manila show were weighing heavy on my mind and I knew what I did and didn’t want to do onstage regardless of how the audience would react. The final backstage hour before the show was just as hectic if not more than in Manila, but by taking that extra breath, I realigned myself and seemed to have closed the aforementioned gate, protecting my heart and stomach, giving me absolute freedom to express what I wished to express that night, making it a far more magical experience in the end. One of my gurus recently asked me put more silence in the show. I remembered that only after playing in Manila where I thought I needed to keep something happening at all times. Taipei was the first place I got to practice that intentional silence and wouldn’t you know it, the audience slipped neatly into my pocket, or in a coma. Either way. It was golden.
All tours usually begin with a warm-up show and in this case our warm-up show was viewed by 11,000 people. No big deal. I don’t mean to undermine their experience by suggesting in this blog that I didn’t give my best performance. About 20 minutes into the show I woke up and told the crowd what was going on. That moment became the breath I needed. And by the end of the show I had grown so comfortable in my skin that I mentioned it in the improvisation leading into I’m Yours. The response in the Philippines has been overwhelming and I look forward to getting back there again soon.
Also, be sure to check out MTV Exit: a rad campaign to End Exploitation and Human Trafficking. MTV abroad is wise to have hosted more than 30 concerts on this topic and I got to participate in one while in Manila as well as visit and perform at a rehabilitation shelter for girls rescued from trafficking. The migratory region of southeast Asia is especially susceptible to this epidemic where humans, mostly young girls, are kidnapped, bought and sold to be servants or sex slaves. CNN has recently joined the fight too, placing their watchful eye on the modern day slavery issue. Visit any of these sights to learn more: