The first of May was the day of my second outdoors gig ever. So me, my husband and my friend Rosie went to a park that is not quite downtown enough to contain competition, but gets some people traffic.
This time, I did not make the mistake that I made last year, when singing outside the first time. Back then, I chose a space that was too open, and as a result, gained a wide yet unwilling audience of several apartment blocks. I only found out about it when a person from one of said blocks came up to me a few hours later and asked me to keep it down.
This time, though, the location was certain not to offend anyone. We set up our gear consisting of an antique stereo, a microphone and an mp3 player containing my set – consisting of songs by My Chemical Romance by about 99% – and off we went.
I did one twelve-song set, with Rosie doing an awesome job as a backup singer/dancer, and then got a chance to do a few more songs again. Before I tell why I didn’t sing more, much as I’d have loved to, let me tell you about my audience. It really was the best part of this day’s experience.
It should be said that MCR is all but unknown in my country, and I am not a very good singer yet. So while having anything recognised would be less than likely, one thing I was safe from was earning anyone’s hate for singing their favourite songs badly. But by and large, I had a good audience.
There were people who never paused or even glanced in my direction, many of them already listening to the music they liked in their headphones.
There were people who watched us as they passed by, some of them smiling as they did so.
There were two people who stopped to take a photograph.
There was one person who dropped some money into the hat we had put on the ground.
And then, just as I was finishing the second song of the second set (Summertime), it looked like it was going to rain. So we decided we’d do the next song, which was Thank You For The Venom, and wrap it up.
I started singing. A few lines into the song, the rain picked up much faster, and so did the wind. Some petals were being torn from the trees and onto the ground – I mistook them for hail at first. I tore off an overshirt I was wearing and tossed it to my husband to cover the speakers. I shielded the microphone with my hand as much as I could. And I kept singing. With the wind and rain in my face, I implored the addressee of the song to fire at will.
(There were people running through the park to the nearest subway station, and some of them whooped and cheered as they passed.)
I didn’t stop in the middle of Venom because, as everyone knows, the show must go on. The rain kept on, and all of us were throughly soaked by then, so I gave Rosie a questioning look, and she said it was my call whether to do another song, and my husband didn’t object.
So on came the next song, which was Ghost of You. The very first instance of ‘at the end of the world’ was answered by a roll of thunder. There were no more people around by then, but I was singing to a kind of audience I had never had before.
At the end of the world,
Or the last thing I see,
You are never coming home,
Never coming home,
The song resonated with the world around me, and I sang to the wind, and the rain, and the thundering skies, and the lightning that would split the clouds. It was quite probably the most cathartic singing experience I had ever had.
And then I let the last note die away, and we picked up the gear and walked to the subway without a hurry, because it wouldn’t make a difference.
All I can say is, I can’t wait to do it again. After all, as this day has shown, you never know what new audiences you may find…