Everything is set up. All the instruments are tuned and the sound check is done.
Its not hard to be onstage, its the two minutes before.
The jumpiness, the tense muscles, the waiting. I think its the waiting that makes me nervous. Waiting for them to call our name, to finish their rambling and let me get up there.
I wish I could play to ease the nervousness, but my instruments are set up onstage. So i study the pattern of the carpet and mark through a mental checklist. I get my picks ready so i can walk up and play, but they start to get sweaty so i put them back in my pocket.
I want to move and pace, walk in circles and jump around but I know she'll hiss at me to stand still, drawing attention to me. That others will think I’m worried I’ll mess up or something. That he will say “everything's going to be fine, everything's ok, you'll do great.” But it's not that I’m worried I won't do well or mess up. I know what I’m going to do and what will happen once I we get out there. We do this all the time.
Everything is planned. How we walk out, who talks when, what songs we play. There is a good part of our set that isn't planned and that we like to have fun with, but it's true. We walk up and after the first song, I’m not nervous anymore. To a degree, things go like they always have.
It's those moments before we walk out, sitting in the dim glow of blue lights. We don't really speak, just try to stay hidden from the crowd. We end up adjusting our clothing, nervously sipping water, giving each other awkward smiles and thumbs up, trying not to betray our anxiety.