Engage your audience with eye to eye contact.

I blast myself with a 500 watt worklight when I sing my vocals live. The sunglasses I wear go from no tint at the bottom to dark at the top. This lets me see but also allows me to make eye to eye contact with the audience. I’ve played massive events with over 40,000 people but my favorite gigs are small clubs. Whatever the size of the venue or festival your core fans will make it close to the stage. Take the time to acknowledge them. If your not entering the stage by a curtain call before you begin your audio onslaught shake the hands of a few people who you can tell are there to see you. This is especially important if your playing a venue where your just one of many acts and the crowd is only a small part yours. Why? Because if you get the front moving the rest will follow.

In the 90s on one infamous night at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City I jumped into the crowd in a drunken state and ended up getting clocked. I was pretty trashed and my pre-show comments on the mic pretty much sealed my fate. After my eyebrow grew back and the stitches healed I gained the confidence to get close to the audience again. Today of course I’m always sober and my fans have had ten years to multiply!

My favorite part of the gig is when I get a chance to jump into the crowd with the work light. Get close to your fans. They like your music because on some level they are similar to you. They know your lyrics and relate. Go and greet them face to face!

The video above is from this Saturday night’s gig at the Ground Zero Festival in Bussloo, The Netherlands. You can see it was easy from me to jump down into the crowd but I had to run around the back to get back on stage! For a photo set (without the bad video noise): click here

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on July 7, 2008 at 6:16 am, filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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3 Responses to “Engage your audience with eye to eye contact.”

  1. mindlobster says:

    This is a GREAT point…getting and keeping eye contact is so hard for laptop users on stage. Even harder for those of us who wear masks and big helmets!

  2. Pete says:

    Great tips, great video. More articles on live performance and stage presence appreciated! :)

  3. Thanks guys. Today live is where it’s at… unless your gigging your not in the game.

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