The greatest thing about playing live music is the interaction you have with the audience. There is no better feeling than to see the audience completely taken by what you’re doing onstage. It’s a very symbiotic relationship in the fact that the audience feeds off the bands energy and stage presence and the band feeds off the energy and appreciation they feel from the audience.
I remember at one particular gig, we had a fan that was completely into the music we were playing. I mean the guy was completely lost in the music. We’re talking borderline out of control.
The rest of the crowd were just egging the guy on and the crowd was getting into the craziness as well. The guy was getting whipped up into such a frenzy that at one point his nose starts bleeding. I’m up there playing and just wailing away because the crowd is getting wild and I see this dude with blood pouring out of his nose but he’s so wound up he doesn’t even notice it. The rest of the crowd is slowly backing away because blood is running down this guys face. So by the end of the song I’m laughing and the band is laughing but not in a making fun kind of way. It was more sympathetic laughter than anything because it’s kind of cool to get so carried away by good rock-n-roll that you can be spouting blood all over and not realize it. So when the song stopped I jumped off the stage and walked over to the guy and said “Dude, your nose is bleeding and you’re covered in blood.” The guys eyes got really wide and he reaches up and feels all the blood running down his face. So he says thanks and walks off to the bathroom to clean up. After about 10 minutes he comes back out, all cleaned up and proceeds to go nuts again. It was a very memorable experience!
Another time we were playing this crappy dump in the town of Kemerer, Wyoming. The owner was a jerk but we were determined to make the crowd ours. The night went well and we really won the crowd over. By closing time we decided to really push the crowd over the edge. We played Metallica – Enter Sandman followed immediatly by The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop. The crowd was so wild they kept edging closer and closer to the band. Finally some girl falls onstage and collapses my Mic Stand. The mic hits me in the mouth but I’m determined to get this crowd crazy! So I ran out into the middle of the crowd and sang the last verse with the crowd while dancing that classic punk rock dance, The Pogo (jumping up and down like a madman). It was a complete riot! We then went right into The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again and the crowd finally trampled a floor monitor and we lost monitors and had to call it a night.
Those are two examples of the band bringing the energy out of the crowd and both band and crowd feeding off of each others energy. It’s the best kind of gig when you can do that! Those are the nights that everyone remembers.