After years of near-daily yoga practice, I’ve come to appreciate the crappy practices almost as much as the good ones. The practices when I can’t hold a simple one-legged posture worth a damn (usually first thing in the morning, before coffee), or when yesterday’s rock solid pincha mayurasana (forearm balance) topples over into an ugly and unexpected back bend. But that’s yoga. It’s PRACTICE. Not performance. No one has paid to see me. No one is counting on my poses to provide entertainment value.
So when midway through the second set of an all-acoustic performance by Citizen Cope last Friday started going sideways (no pun intended, even though Sideways is one of my all-time favorite Cope songs), I got a little jittery for the guy. After struggling with a few songs, he stopped and shared: “sorry guys, I’m just not hitting the high notes tonight.”
Tough break. Especially as this was an all-acoustic performance, and we all came to savor his equal parts angelic, hoarse, pleading, and commanding pipes to bring home the extraordinary lyrics he is famous for. And unlike my crappy day yoga practices, he was here to PERFORM. And had a whole theater of fans expecting to be entertained.
But here’s what’s interesting, the harder the notes got to hit, the more we fell in love with him. The more we wanted the night to continue. Because as he showed us, it’s not just about hitting the high notes. The show CAN go on, if you bring your heartfelt presence and love to your fans, like Clarence Greenwood did. Here is, in my mind, what makes this man a star:
1. He didn’t bail on us. He is a star in the alt-music world, with legions of fans who will follow him anywhere. And if he had apologized and called it night at the first missed note, most of us would have understood and wished him well. But he didn’t. He chose to finish the job, and give us what we really came for – a chance to connect with this authentic, awesome, and talented musician and human being.
2. He showed humility. “You guys are probably feeling a little embarrassed for me right about now…” he chuckled. He was able to make light of the situation, and soothe our deepest fear – the thought of not hitting our own high notes under pressure.
3. He rallied our support. Who doesn’t want to feel needed? Especially when called upon by a bona fide rock star?? He engaged us in a few songs, encouraging those who knew the lyrics to belt it out, knowing we had his back. I was so moved that I even belted out a few ‘la la la’s’ for the unfamiliar tunes.
In sum, this will go down as one of the best shows of all time. And next time I miss a note on my mat, I’ll shrug it off, plug in my Citizen Cope yoga playlist, and keep on going.