That totally depends on the many variables involved. If the stars are in alignment, the guest is in the right mindset and the crowd is open, the sky is the limit. There are jocks that play what the crowd wants to hear, and jocks for whom the crowd comes to hear what they are going to play. IMHO the latter is always preferable, even if that means they might (try to) go somewhere the crowd isn't ready for or doesn't want to go. There's no perfect formula here - if there was it would bore the shit out of all of us after a week or two.
Originally Posted by Chuck P
If you don't know the room (especially in the case of travelling or never having been at the venue/party before), you can be up shits creek without a paddle if you don't pack right and aren't confident and clear in your mission. If I may quote John Diamond, "It cannot be overemphasized that every performer must have as his basic intent the raising of the life energy of his listeners... As long as this is the aspiration of the performer, he will be able to purely transmit the pulse. Instead of a situation of 'Listen to how well I play. Aren't I brilliant?' it is rather 'Listen to the glory of the message that I am honored to pass on to you."
That said, is the point of a guest spot to be invited back? Is that how you gauge success? I've booked hundreds of guests and most times it's to give the crowd something different but still exceptional, to expose the audience to talent they otherwise might not hear, and to extend the opportunity to selectors who deserve the chance because they put in the work, mean it(!), and honor the music that they play and the audience that comes to receive it.
I make it a point to invite people back who pack the room to the fullest, ONLY IF ALL OF THE AFOREMENTIONED QUALIFIERS HAVE BEEN MET. That just boils down to a smart (and easy) business decision. I also turn down guest spots where I don't feel what I do will be effective or appreciated by the audience. It's one more reason to produce your own events. That said, I've had some amazing experiences as a guest, and a few nightmares to keep that ego in check. You take a chance any time you book a guest, but if you don't take chances, you have a much lower likelihood of elevation.
"MAY YOU LIVE AS LONG AS YOU WANT, BUT NEVER WANT AS LONG AS YOU LIVE. MAY YOU LIVE TO BE 100, & ME 100 BUT MINUS A DAY, SO THAT I'LL KNOW THAT NICE PEOPLE LIKE YOU, HAVE PASSED MY WAY. AND REMEMBER, WHEN FRANKIE CROCKER ISN'T ON YOUR RADIO, YOUR RADIO JUST ISN'T REALLY ON."