The greatest guitar player’s worst concert

A friend took me to see the wold’s greatest guitar player for my birthday.

Phil Keaggy struggled.

He is recovering from a detached retina. There’s nerve pain in his hand. His guitar broke, so he had to borrow one from the opening act. The sound crew was questionable. It might have been the worst concert Phil has ever performed. And yet…

It was great.

We got to see behind the curtain, to observe how a master handles himself when nothing is going right. If he was rattled he didn’t show it. He laughed with the audience, solved problems on the fly, and managed to awe us despite the obstacles.

Perfection is overrated. We spend so much time covering our flaws, projecting curated versions of ourselves on social media. We live in the uncanny valley, rarely seeing behind the masks of the people we think we know best. Despite appearances, most of us are just barely holding things together. We fear the stage, fear our best attempts will be met with boos and heckles. It is terrifying to imagine that if we ever ship our art, the only thing people will see will be the flaws.

Every day we step on stage, rarely under ideal circumstances. If we promise perfection the audience will turn hostile when lip-syncing is discovered. But if we promise authenticity, the crowd is forgiving, eager to applaud despite the flaws. Stay creative.


Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia

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