It would be easy to describe this day with one word. That word being “wow”. But people are interested in details and I don't know how accurate my reportage can be on this event. First off, it featured some of my most profound and personal songs, so I could be a trifle bias, and besides that, my head is now a gourd full of mush. My mind was blown with about every performance.
On top of having sludge brain, I was also bombarded by insights that left me a bit overwhelmed. I will solider on as best I can, but I can't make any promises about an accurate accounting.
I was frankly a bit nervous about the event from the beginning. I'm aware my songs are quite good, but I'm also aware I'm not the most popular performer on Second Life. I have a very hard core following, but as is the case with just about anything hard core... they do not represent the mainstream.
Mainstream is easy to digest and makes a point not to expect much from the listener. Unpleasant topics are ignored, and the more vague the lyrics, the less you have to think about what they mean. In most cases they don't mean anything really. While I have penned a few songs in the pop style, even my most assessable tune has a core meaning, and sometimes that meaning is not entirely up beat.
This places me far outside the mainstream.
Big events thrive on appealing to the broadest spectrum of people possible, and while my music could not attract that audience, the performers involved with the event could.
The reason this event worked was due to simple synergy. Great songs, interpreted by some of the best musicians in Second Life. And I feel I should point out the line up did not consist primarily of musicians from my clique of friends. Yes there were good and dear friends on the line up, but I feel some of the biggest impact of this event were due to the people that didn't have a personal relationship with me, and only participated because they felt the songs were great.
Due to the diversity in the line up, a lot of people attended the show that would not have done so if their personal favorite performer were not playing. This brought my music to new ears, and I'm very appreciative of those involved that took a risk to promote my songs.
Yes I am pleased. But not just because this was “Zorch Day”. This was an event about songs. Good songs that I just happened to write. In the end, it was about the music and I feel that is the most profound in-road we breached.
I feel I should mention, for some reason everybody seemed nervous at the show. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it was due to the respect people had to the songs... and by implication me as a songwriter. I find this even more flattering because as I've stated quite publicly, I'm not the biggest deal on the “Second Life Music Scene ™”.
The show started out with Matthew Boryles Perreault. I'll be honest with you and tell you I didn't know much about Matthew. I've played before him twice at Indie Spectrum radio shows, and I kind of like his stuff. But I honestly didn't know he was aware of anything I did. I was frankly wondering that songs he would choose to cover.
I was quite surprised when he started out with “Different”, which while one of my favorite songs is not one on consider well known. I do play it now and then, but when Matthew fired it up, I was kind of surprised. He did mention from the outset he was going to take liberties with it, and I must tell you his arrangement was very good. I was quite pleased with his adaption and felt things were going well.
Now if you have been to either of the previous Covered events, you probably know there is one or two performances that are solid gold moments. Matthew's second song was one of those moments at this event.
I really doubted that anybody would cover some of the more complex finger picking songs at this show. But Matthew jumped right in the deep end with his very own, fresh original take on “Dance on the Edge of a Sword”. His arrangement took the song out of it's Celtic ornamentation and placed it in a decidedly folk pop framework. It really worked amazingly well, and provided the first golden moment of the show.
Brilliant work Matthew Broyles Perreautl.
Noma Falta was up next. Noma has become a friend of my recently, and I just gotta say it. I don't think she knows how big of a Second Life Rock star she is. The reason I say that, is because if she were aware, why would she be hanging out with me? I like Noma, not because she is a Second Life rock star, but because I know that she is here for the music, and people that love music are people I tend to get along with just fine.
I mentioned golden moments before, and Noma jump right up and slammed one home in a single utterance. She started out “Hell Hounds on my Trail” was a bone chilling wail. I was totally blown away by her sonic declaration . The Blues can be a grim business, and this was down and dirty damnation in all it's grisly detail. While she did seem as nervous as a long tail cat in a rocking chair factory, she still managed to pick out a delicate impression of a soul on the edge.
Noma then followed with a touching cover of one of my favorite songs, “I wasn't missing you at all”. I think she was a bit flustered, but the song was brilliant. She did mention she was a little nervous about playing it in front of me, but she didn't need to be.
Moondoggirl Moomintoog was up next. Once again, I really didn't know her very well going into this event. But she told me right up front she wanted to cover “Running in Circles” because she felt it was a great country song. I really didn't see it as a country song until after she played it. Now it all makes perfect sense to me.
Moondoggirl followed with her very different arrangement of “The Conversation wasn't over”. This was the third golden moment of the show. I have to tell you that song has always been very moving every time I've played it, but it was so odd to hear somebody else play it, and still be moved to tears.
Up next was Deadeye Foggarty. He started out with “The Pipes of Redemption” and I've gotta tell you I was blown away. He arrangement was all his, and while remaining true to the context of the song, infused it with a kind of American vibe, that reminded me of Johnny Cash singing a Tent Reznor song.
He second song was yet another golden moment. He covered “Mo Anam Cara”, and it's only right he should have done so. His Hand-fastening with Enchantress was the inspiration for the song. I had never heard of the phrase before that event, and afterwords I was thinking, “Man that would be a great line for a song”.
Deadeye really breathed life into the lyrics. He really grasped the tender subtext, and the humble emotional resonance of the song.
Lots of people sing, lots of people play instruments, but Deadeye is a rarity on Second life. He's a real musician.
Blind Boy Gumbo was up next, and he brought the RAWK. He always told me he was fond of “You talk a lot of shit for a one eyed fat man”, so when the idea for my covered event came up, I was not surprised to find out that was one of his choices. But he really made it his own. He took my bluesy moan and stripped it down to a hard edged rock song. I was... Afraid, and then I was TERRIFIED!!!
Suffice it to say, it was indeed yet another golden moment. He follow up with “Howard Roark and Me” and just RAWKED the fook out of it.
Next up was Senjata Witt. Now Senjata and I go way back. But we do seem to travel in different circles now. However the love and respect are still very much intact. She mentioned I was the only person on Second Life that could get her out of bed before Noon.
Senjata not only Covered my songs, but Covered my look as well. I was amazed to see tiny Senjata dressed just like a Zorch Mini me.
Senjata would not give a clue about what song she intended to cover, so I was very curious to find out which songs she picked. Some of my songs are more challenging then others, and I frankly expected Senjata would choose one of those songs.
I was right about that. She played an amazing version of “If I could find myself in sleep” and I was just left dumbstruck. I manage to grunt out “wow”, just before she unleashed a broadside of dropped D hammer guitar. “What could this be” I wondered. Then she pulled off one of the most amazing arrangements of “Rubber Sky” I could imagine.
Hell, I could not imagine that, only Senjata could. Yet another golden moment.
With the Daunting task of following that was none other then my partner in “2 big 4 the internet”, Lexie Luan.
While everybody mentioned they were nervous... I mean EVERYBODY. Lexie has the most reasons. She had been playing live with me for the last month, and she felt people were going to expect more from her. She was also a bit nervous because I was sitting right next to her.
She knows me well enough to understand, while I can bite my tongue now and then, I suck at avoiding the disappointed glance. But it seems she had no reason to worry. She did just fine.
She started out with “The Cowgirl song” (her version of my “The Cowboy song”, because... well, she is a girl) and did just fine with it. But then she followed that up with a touching reinterpretation of “the Walls of Love”. Her delicate arrangement and vulnerable delivery made for yet another golden moment.
POL Arida was up next... and he only did one of my songs. I could tell you how he did, but for pity sake, he's POL Arida. Do you even have to ask?
No I'm not Internet Gay for POL Arida. And he did cover “1:16 am”. While the song was just fine, I'll be honest and tell you the golden moment in POLs show was not what he played but what he said. It made me feel.... special.. and not in a short bus kind of way.
Frankly POL is very upfront about sucking at covering other peoples songs. But the fact he went to far from his comfort zone for me means a lot. And just between you and I.... he didn't suck. Everybody made mistakes... but I make them too and I wrote this stuff.
At the end of the show I got to bask, and play a few songs before rushing off to my next show.
With some 50 people in attendance, it was probably the biggest audience I've ever played in front of in Second Life, and I'm not kidding myself, it's probably as good as it will ever get in Second Life. But that is okay.
It was not about me. It was about some good songs I happened to write, and while it might have seemed like “Zorch day”, it was more then that.
It was a music day. It was a musicians day, and it was a listeners day.
On a quick side note. GarGraVar was taking in world photos during the event, and if you don't have him on your FaceBook friends list, you are missing out. He's becoming the visual chronicler of all things scene related. Check out his photos from this event and other events all over Second Life.