Judy Rodman just wrote a blog post on talking onstage and I wanted to add my anecdotal experience about this. Click here to read her article first.
As a performer, I love talking on stage. I feel like jokes and stories can unite an audience and give them a shared since of emotion. I usually open my shows with a song but as soon as possible I take the time to say hello, thank the audience, look around and listen and gauge the room.
As an audience member, I love listening to a performer talk. A skilled speaker can make you feel like you know them. There have been a few shows I’ve attended where the performer said nothing at all and I end up leaving feeling like I’ve been left out of something.
My favourite experience with stage talk was two years ago when I was attending a Mark Murphy concert. He began introducing the next song by asking the audience if they had seen Brokeback Mountain. He spoke for twenty full minutes explaining the intricacies of the plot. He spoke of the two cowboys, Ennis and Jack, who form an unlikely romance that lasts a life time. He explained how they couldn’t be together and how they each married other people but those marriages suffered because of their love of each other. Jack tries to convince Ennis to live with him but Jack refuses to walk away from his children. They fight, and Jack leaves. Finally, Ennis tries to communicate with Jack but his postcard is returned, stamped “deceased.” Jack is heartbroken.
That’s when Mark Murphy said, “If I were the musical director of that film, I would have played this song…”