What Did Climbing 80 Floors Teach Me About Touring Endurance?

Kohls step up Chicago

Here’s another hybrid live music and running exploration for ya.

This past Sunday I participated in Kohl’s “Step Up for the Kids,” which involved me and five other family members trekking up 80 floors (1643 steps) at the Aon Center building in Chicago.  (photo above: they gave us cute Dr. Seuss dolls after finishing.)

So here’s what the race taught me about the necessity of developing touring endurance, and how our live concert experiences can impact us physically and psychologically.

As I told you before with the last race I ran, these types of athletic adventures always seems to teach me something about writing, blogging and live music, and as I reached the 40th floor, a random thought popped into my head as my legs started to REALLY burn and I began to use the railing for extra support.

With each passing step I thought more and more about how what I was doing was probably very similar to what it is like for an artist to tour.

What About the Artists?

I’ve talked to many artists about the struggles and challenges of touring, and they almost always say that the physical side of touring is what gets to be the most challenging, with the psychological challenges coming in at a close second place.

And as I struggled to the top of the Aon Center and passed by the various water pit stops with volunteers handing us small paper glasses of liquids, I thought of our exploration into Gogol Bordello’s hilarious touring tips.

Again, those great tips come from seasoned pros that will undoubtedly make you laugh, but don’t let the humor fool you, those tips should still be seriously considered and acted on if you want to survive a long multi-city tour.

What About The Fans?

But from a fan perspective, I also thought about our friends Drew and Tara and their Rocktober Concert Challenge.

And when I asked Drew and Tara, about their experience during the Challenge, they mentioned how much of physical and psychological test their feat became after shows started to pile up.

And as I climbed higher and higher, I too felt the effects of the altitude on my lungs and I had to work hard to keep my mind focused on just doing “one step at time” so as not to get discouraged or overwhelmed.

So What Does All This Mean?

What did I learn about touring and the fan experience from climbing 80 floors for the kids?

Well, I don’t have an hard data to prove it, but I’m starting to think that there is a bigger connection than we may think between the live music experience, touring, creativity, regular physical fitness and personal wellness.

I also know that it does take an immense amount of physical, psychological and spiritual strength to continue to tour and play great show. And that fact was what was so amazing about Lady Gaga’s show at Lollapalooza, who at the time hadn’t stopped touring for over two years.

And when you consider the pain of falling on stage that can happen during a show and the psychological challenges of touring, it’s easy to see why live performance and touring has always been a measuring stick for the some of the greatest and our favorite bands of all time.

And it’s very clear to see why playing live music and constantly touring so important not just to grow a fan based, but touring is crucial because it allows an artist/band to sharpen and develop their music, grow together or test their friendships as bandmates, and make the vital physical and spiritual connections with fans during the show.

That’s it for now, but we’ll explore this topic more in the very near future.

But for now I’d like to know what you think?

What touring experiences have you had that challenged your physical and psychological limits? What concert experiences have put your mind, body and soul to the test?

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