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Rethinking Your Live Show

Most of you know that I work with bands and artists of all levels and genres; from Grammy winners to indie artists, making a go of it on their own. Most of the major artists I work with are always rethinking their live shows and how to make them better. It keeps it fresh for them and for their audiences. 

One of the things they work on is to incorporate new and/or creative technology into their live shows. However, it still amazes me that so many other acts are not using the technology available to make their shows better!

You may not be able to have huge video walls, lifts that take you through the audience, waterfalls, etc., but there’s still a lot you can do creatively. Small steps…in most cases improvement comes incrementally. You have to start somewhere.

Those of you familiar with my Live Music Methods know I talk about materials, tools and skills – the technique of performance: understanding the tools we have, how to use them, why and when we should use the stand, the stool, the mic…even the headset for some artists.

If you’ve seen me at a workshop, you know one of the first things I do is get the monitors out of the way so we can use more of the space. Monitors are often the barrier between us and the audience. They limit where we can go on the front of the stage to put pressure on the audience.

When rehearsing with artists, I recommend constantly that they use the new technology available to make their show better. Along with the other onstage tools, I also suggest using videos, because media is becoming so affordable.

You can get pretty creative on a small budget! In one of Daniel Lanois previous tours, he didn’t carry video screens with him on the road – he carried blow up balloons to project his images.

Very effective, clever and easy to transport! (I’ll be exploring this idea for singer/songwriters in my up-coming DVD series geared specifically to address the challenges of performance faced by singer/songwriters.)

What I want to talk to you about right now is getting the players up front free of cords and able to move anywhere onstage. I am amazed so many vocalists and guitar players don’t use wireless technology or in-ear monitors.

I guess I shouldn’t be amazed in most cases. A lot of it is because there is a lack of knowledge about how to use the entire stage. If artists onstage knew how to be as creative with their live show as they are with their music, wireless technology would be a must for those in the band who are mobile!

Yes, it’s an investment. But for bands wanting to go to the next level, it’s an investment you’ll need to make sooner or later.

The first thing you need to do is check out some of the technology available. Take a look at this video with Ryan Smith from Shure. He came by with some gear at one of my rehearsals and talked to one of the artists about their technology:

**Note – This segment is older, but you’ll get the point. 

It’s important to have audio gear that will help your live show. In addition to being wireless, study my DVD, Don’t Fall off the Stage. Because being wireless carries the responsibility of knowing how to use the stage correctly…where and why to go to deliver a solo, balancing the stage, developing proxemics onstage between the players… 

You can buy just the one DVD, however I always recommend you get the entire All Roads Lead to the Stage series because taking one of the concepts and only applying that one concept sells your performance short. We are currently running a half off special on all downloads, which includes half off the full set. (Use coupon code 50%OFF)

You may not have the resources of a Pink, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, The Band Perry, U2 or Garth Brooks, but you still need to rethink your live show and further your performances with technology, AND you need to know how to use the STAGE otherwise there’s no real need for the technology!

Tom Jackson

Tom is uniquely talented and skilled at transforming an artist's live show into a magical experience for the audience; helping artists at every level create a live show that is engaging and memorable, teaching them to exceed their audiences' expectations and to create fans for life. Tom has taught indie and major artists of every genre. He has worked with Taylor Swift, Le Crae, Home Free, The Tenors, Shawn Mendes, The Band Perry, Francesca Battistelli, Jars of Clay, & many more. Tom also teaches at colleges, conferences and events worldwide.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. I met you in Pigeon Forge at Shellem Kline’s Expo. Bought your series. I haven’t been able to get through them. The pandemic is a great time since live performances have all been cancelled. I am hoping to see you again. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with artists.
    Betty

  2. Tom, have been following you for about five years. Mainly on YouTube and more recently via your mailing list. A singer songwriter for twenty years, I formed a trio 2 years ago with a great bass player and drummer. We’ve gigged well for those two years and I want to take things further. Covid has meant a lack of practice plus I have had two months of a complete lack of confidence. I’ve now got my mojo back and want to crack on with a complete overhaul of my songs and arrangements. Which of your dvds would you suggest for a uk performer in his 50s? I’m not looking for pop success but I go down well at festivals and decent music venues. Thanks Nick

    • Hi Nick, Thanks for your message. I’m glad you got your mojo back! DVD #2 (available as a download) is a great place to start. It identifies what types of songs you need where in your show. It doesn’t go into re-arranging your songs, but it will give you a lot to work with. We’ve been working on a new singer/songwriter series that should be available either streaming or as a download. It will cover what to work on in rehearsals including the song arrangements for live. Thanks again for your message. We wish you well in your career!

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