That time I performed at the House of Blues

By Jack Baudoin

Getting up in front of a class for a speech can be a nerve-racking experience. Turn that 30-person class into a crowd of a couple hundred people at one of the most famous concert venues in Chicago, and those nerves get doubled, even tripled. However, that is exactly what I did my junior year of high school.

In 2014, my friends and I decided to start a band for our high school talent show. We had so much fun playing together that we decided to continue to play shows outside of school.

Our guitarist knew a promoter, Mark Alan, who set up shows at different concert venues and bars around the Chicagoland area.

At our first show, we had such a great turnout and played our songs so well that the promoter took us aside after we got off stage. As it turned out, he also set up shows at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL, and he wanted us to open at the next one.

I was on cloud nine. The fact that I was going to play on the same stage as some of my heroes was one of the best feelings in the world. However, with that happiness also came a bit of fear.

Come show day, I was excited to get to the House of Blues and play a face-melting rock show. I loaded my drums into my parents’ car, and we set off. During the whole car ride I could not shake that fear.

The talent show was one of the first times I performed in front of a crowd, and now I felt like I was shooting all the way up to the big leagues with very little experience. I was concerned I was not ready, and I would embarrass myself.

After loading our equipment in, it seemed like no time had passed at all before I was behind the drum kit waiting for the curtain to open. I felt sick to my stomach, but as soon as that curtain opened and we hit our first notes, all those fears went away.

Playing on that stage showed me the pure enjoyment I get from performing and creating music that a crowd can dance and have a good time. Thanks to that show, performing has become a real passion of mine. Walking off stage, I knew I would never forget that moment.