“I like people who are comfortable and confident.” That’s what my friend Mark said last weekend after the Donavon Frankenreiter show. DF is a surfer singer song writer from Southern California. He has a dreamy voice, a shaggy-dog hairdo, and is definitely California cool. That cool factor shot up right before the final song of the night when DF picked someone to sing the chorus.
“You’ve been standing in front of me all night,” he said to some unseen person in a crowd of people raising their hands. “C’mon up here.”
The guy who lumbered onto stage was tall and beefy and he had a sweet face. He was sporting orange foam ear plugs. And when I saw his hand trembling wildly, I actually got uncomfortable for him. There’s DF, a seasoned performer in bleach-splotched skinny jeans, and there’s our gentle giant shifting nervously beside him. And there I was feeling nervous – terribly nervous. I wasn’t entirely confident this was going to turn out well. I turned to my friend Jen and yelled, “no matter what happens, we are going to love this guy.”
The whole scene triggered something I wrestle with – a fear of putting myself out there in a genuine, uninhibited and full throttle way for the world to see. But there is always a pivotal moment where you make a choice – to accept and to act. Our guy with a trembling hand knows fear, but it doesn’t matter enough to him. Not enough to keep him off the stage.
DF quiets the crowd, revs up the band and finally signals the cue. That’s when our guy sings the chorus three times in a pitch-perfect, beautiful voice with joy screaming across his face. In about 45 seconds, he makes the whole night unforgettable for me and all the others erupting around me. This young guy stepped into a new experience, took action despite his fear and made the moment uniquely his own. It gave me chills.
It’s probably no coincidence that the chorus was – if it don’t matter to you, it don’t matter to me.