I was beyond nervous for the first show, which was at Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv, Israel. Even though we had just rehearsed for three straight months and even though I knew that I was ready, nothing can really prepare you for that first moment when you step out on stage in front of 40,000+ screaming fans, where all you see is the most beautiful display of flashing lights imaginable. For the first few shows, I didn’t have any techniques to manage the nerves and the pressure yet but that’s when I started to develop these techniques. In the show, my big solo was during “Like A Virgin”, which Madonna had rearranged into an intimate, slow waltz consisting of only her live local, a piano, and me.
I would always be the most nervous in the moment right before beginning my solo – I mean, how could you not be? One out-of-tune note or one botched bow transition echoes through an entire stadium for all to hear. But before each time I performed the solo, I would look out into the stadium and just breathe and take in the view, breathe, focus. Ironically, the exact scene that I would look out upon and the far away sounds I could hear in the quiet stadium in this moment… became very peaceful and calming. I could literally slow my heart rate down and refocus my mind, body and fingers and then play the solo. It’s a little difficult to describe the exact scene from my perspective but when I picture it in my head, it’s clear as day and it now calms me down in any situation. It’s very special to me.