- Telling him afterwards that one person didn’t like the lyrics in one of his songs
- Asking him if he could do all of his songs a bit shorter
- Wanting to approve the set list beforehand
- Wanting to tamper with the set list, – “can you just miss this one out”
- Giving him a set list of crappy cover songs you want him to play (in other words someone else’s PowerPoint presentation to deliver)
- Asking him what he’s going to do and what he’s going to sing just before he goes on stage.
- Telling him all about each individual member of the audience a week before the gig.
- Saying you’ve got everything booked for the 3rd of June, which is the week after next, and is he free? You’ve got the venue hired, the PA system and the piano, all the audience are coming, can he do the date?
- Telling him that for the gig he’s doing for you he has to wear a tie.
- Telling him afterwards: – you thought his gig was pretty good really, but a bit of advice about how to do it better….
- Telling him afterwards in the dressing room that you expected him to be boring but actually he was quite good
- Hanging around in the dressing room afterwards while he’s trying to pack up his gear and asking him lots of questions about how he got started and whether he can give you any advice about how you could get into the music business
- Asking him to run through the entire set the week before so you can check that it’s alright and that his voice is alright, …maybe even to run through some of it twice – for your boss as well
- “Last week’s band played heavy-metal and the audience really liked them, so could you do all your songs in a heavy-metal style please?”
- Could you have your piano in the middle and the bass on the left, and the third song to be a ballad, because we want all the performers on the bill to “be consistent”
- “On the feedback forms some people said they wanted more ballads but other people said they wanted more of a dance selection of songs, what can you do about that for next time please?”
- “Could you play your whole set in 15 minutes please, that’s all the time we’ve got?”
If I was hiring Elton for a gig I’d treat him with a lot more respect than any of the above. I’ll give him lots of notice and I’ll give him total freedom to do his thing. I’m hiring him because I know he’s good, and I like his way of doing things, I like his material and his performance style. I’ve already made a decision that I like his message, so I would leave him to deliver his message in his usual way, and I would trust his judgement on the night to make it great for the audience.
But all the trainers out there will recognise probably every single one of the above! So if you’re hiring a trainer please could you imagine what it’s like to have these things to deal with on top of the job of writing and delivering useful material, and ask yourself whether you would do any of the above if it was Elton?!
By the way I’m not comparing myself to Elton musically! How I wish I had 1% of his songwriting ability or 1% of his piano playing ability. He is a God, he’ll be famous for ever for just two or three of his songs, let alone his incredible entire repertoire. – my personal favourites being Mellow, Amoreena, Where to now St Peter, Talking old soldiers, Blessed, Tell me when the whistle blows, The Club at the end of the street, and my personal anthem “I‘m still standing“.