I got my second Pfizer vaccine in mid-April. It was an incredible relief. I'd spent the better part of the previous 14 months terrified for my health, avoiding any social contact, and financially stressed. As soon as my two week waiting period over, I was nervous and excited to get back to playing gigs.
After two weeks of work, I can say that people seem really happy to have a live music experience again. Most are both generous and respectful. If there's a positive to come out of the pandemic, I think it's reshaped the way we interact. I haven't been inappropriately touched onstage once. People seem kinder too. I'm hearing a lot more "please" and "thank you", instead of "play my song! Now!" Kinda wild. Most people don't stay out too late, either. I'm definitely more of a crash-early house cat type these days. I don't mind it.
I've sort of been burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. I teach piano lessons a few days a week and hit the clubs at night. I'll be cutting back on my studio come June, which is both saddening and a relief. I just can't do it all.
This whole "return to normal-ish" has me reeling. I was jumpy at my first few gigs, seeing lots of people packed into bars, dancing, drinking, hugging. It took a few mental pep talks to remind myself that this was the deal; after the shots, I had to go back to work, and I am mostly protected from the virus. It's been awesome to see people laughing together and having fun. Surreal, almost. And not to be a downer, but I think it's going to be a really long time before things are completely the way they used to be. 100% capacity and all that. Or maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. In any case, the dive back in has been weird and wild.
After a few more weeks of a full teaching schedule, I'll become a night creature again. Almost all bar work, singalong, and bad jokes. It'll take a few weeks.
Livestreaming was a great outlet the past year, and John and I will continue to do our Wednesday show (7-8:30pm CST) for as long as we can. It was a fun way to reconnect with old friends and family who don't live in Chicago. But I have to say, playing for in-person crowds and hearing the cheering and singing really lifts my spirits. For an introvert, I really like being the ringmaster of Nightlife Circus several days a week.
This post is a bit scattered, well, because I am. I was up til 3am coming down from the high of the gig and I woke up at 8 because my body clock made me. I'm on a teaching break and I still need to eat something. No complaints, though. It's nice to be back.
Until tomorrow, stay well, stay safe, and stay kind.
P.S. The transition back to gigs is why I haven't blogged in a bit. I'm hoping to do at least a few posts a week moving forward. Thanks for staying in touch!