In October, I did a private show with John Legend in NYC. It was a pretty straight forward and short set. I was happy to take the stage behind John, who is a genuinely excellent singer and performer and with a band that is comprised of talented people whom I respect.
Sometime during the second song, I looked out into the crowd and realized that super producer/guitar legend Nile Rodgers was in the front row. I’m glad no one gave me a heads up on this because by the time I discovered it there was no time to freak out (ha!), there was only time to give 100%.
Playing in front of someone like that has an interesting effect of me. I tend to experience it as though I’m under a microscope and every inflection, every nuance and, Lord help me, every mistake is highlighted. It’s kind of a beautiful place. It’s also, let me be frank, a little scary.
The show went well and as soon as I could, I walked into the crowd and found Nile who was gracious and complimentary. I told him that earlier that week I had been showing college students his tune Le Freak and how big of an influence he has been for me and how great his playing is and how…. Like I said, he was gracious.
Afterwards, the bassist, Kaveh Rastegar, and I were standing by the only plausible exit. I figured, why go to the dressing room and eat cold catering when I could bother Nile Rodgers more? He came down this long and wide hallway and while his wife retrieved their coats he gravitated naturally toward us, the only musicians around, and started to talk about the show. I asked a few great questions, I was like freakin Terry Gross for 3 minutes, but the real take away was how there is a sort of fraternity, a community of musicians that extends from the largest of legends to the sideman to the beginner. It’s inspiring to be a part of that.