Dreaming in Color - House of Blues, April 30, 2014
Hello. My name is Jeevo, and I can be a hypocrite. We will get to this later. For now, here is everything that went wrong with my first debut at the House of Blues Los Angeles this past Wednesday night:
1) We had no real sound check
2) The sound guy played the wrong song for my intro, and my band and I completely acted out the first song on the fly :-)
3) We had pretty much no music in the monitors and I could only hear the drums, bass and some guitar to find my key
4) My volume was low in the main speakers generally, especially during the higher tempo, louder songs.
5) I asked for a wireless mic, and was told they couldn't provide one just before the show - for all performers, this is a big deal. I was holding a wire the entire show so I wouldn't trip over it.
We all know artists care about their work. This is nothing new. Everybody wants to give their best presentation of what they believe is their calling. But I am a hypocrite because I project the idea and spirit of trusting God to work everything for good, yet micromanage His game plan and critique every flaw that was not up to "my standard." Sure I can celebrate the victory and find joy in the midst - but after every artistic show of mine, I first ponder the ills - the wrongs - the mistakes - the untidiness. My default is not an altar of celebration and praise - it is an idol of my image - an idol that I quite frankly place above the celebration of a miracle.
This has been a flaw of mine since I have pursued music. It does not matter how powerful or amazing the show is - I still come away in a melancholy mood, wondering if what I did was anything of value. Wondering what I could have done better, or what flaws pricked every core of my being. Wondering if I have any business making quality music if I can't deliver with precision and excellence. Wondering if people were let down. Wondering if I had made them expect too much.
When you have a wife like mine, you cannot get away with living under your potential. You cannot sweep aside the things of the soul that are essential. She gently reminded me that my mindset was beneath the calling that God truly has for me. She gently exhorted me. She basically grabbed me outside of my quiet hole and brought to light something that I have casually dismissed for years. The remainder of this writing is a mix of what her words and God's conviction have forced me to wrestle with - I believe it is for you all as well - thus the transparency. B/c transparency in of itself is not worth that much, even if it's the cool emo thing to do.
When God does a work, it is not about you. It will involve you, but its outpouring and sheer grace is certainly not about you. We tend to lose our way even when He has His hand upon us. I began my set with "Dreaming in Color" - A cry of wanting to know what is right and wrong, but dealing with shades of grey while thinking in black and white. I then sang "Lost." A song about my very struggle of mistrust and anxiety. When Adam ate the apple, we all became susceptible to not trusting the greater works of God, whether we understand His methodology or not.
After I perform, even though I am well-equipped with the Spirit of God, I am unable to fully appreciate His glory in the midst of imperfections. I curve into myself, as if the purpose of the show was to glorify my music - as if God opening up the House of Blues was solely for my music career. It seems so elementary, but when people come to see you perform, you feel like you owe them your best. But really, my audience is One. My audience is also covered by the One. My audience is owned by the One. I belong to the One.
I was recently struck by the film "Heaven Is For Real." If we were completely certain that God will greet us after our death, how would we live our life now? How ridiculous would all our vain pursuits at ephemeral glory be? How unfulfilled is a life that seeks momentary glory, in the light of a God where the concept of glory was designed for?
This post is my first altar of praise. To publicly tell you all how grateful I am for the opportunity to perform at a great venue. I am so thankful for how many of you showed up, made noise, and "turned up." :-) Your energy was amazing, and the videos suggest that the sound was really good for the most part! Your enthusiasm suggests that it was a good show, despite how much I didn't want to write that last sentence. Your support and feedback have been incredible, and my band was on fire! Thank you.
Three years ago, I wrote a blog blasting everyone who didn't show up to a concert of mine. I do not regret that at all, and I meant every word. Three years later, I have nothing but love and excitement for all of you who could not make it to the House of Blues - b/c I know there will be more for you to all attend, and I know your time is all precious. I know that I am not needed by the people. My music is not necessary. God is necessary. I hold on to the shoes I wear to present the gospel of peace very loosely. At any moment He may ask me to remove the shoes of music (even my Red October Air Yeezys!) - or remove the shoes of performing - but from my sense, He's just making my feet cleaner. He is preparing you all for the exact shoe that will be fitted for your destinies. In every pursuit, may we build our altars of worship. May we build our remembrances of the great work He has done, and will continue to do throughout our lives. The same hand that builds praise, can also build an idol. Learn from my mistake. Fight against it. Don't be like me in this way.
Peace, and much love to you - your artist who is a work in progress - Jeevo.