Here's what we hope happens when we book a show (these are not in order of priority).
1. So many people show up that the fire marshal stops by to enforce the maximum capacity for the building. We hear later that people couldn't get in to see us play (this has happened once in all the shows I've ever played and it was mostly but not entirely due to the band that we were opening for).
2. The manager of the venue is so impressed with how we played and how many people showed up that he or she pays us more than we had agreed upon and insists that we get back to play another show as soon as possible. It's so much more fun to have proprietors that are actual fans of music than money grubbing owners that could care less about what you play.
3. Many people in the crowd can't help themselves from shouting and screaming out loud at the end of our songs as opposed to a few people politely clapping. Legit feedback for a band really only shows up when you finish a song on stage.
4. We play well. Every now and then, you get on stage and your musical instrument feels like a foreign object you've never seen before. And every now and then, you're in a weird groove and literally hit every note you've practiced and even a couple new things you never even thought of playing before that sound fantastic. Most of the time you land somewhere around 90% of the latter and 10% of the former (when you see a musician shake their head or smile as if they're enjoying their own private joke, it's generally because they misplayed something that they've played correctly at least a hundred times).
5. We have a great time together on the stage. This is where having the right bandmates comes in handy. Have a good time together on stage and everybody in the crowd can tell. If there's a bad vive between the people on stage, maybe people in the crowd don't know why, but they can tell something's up.
So I think any band would say that they still haven't had the Best Show They've Ever Had yet. You're constantly looking to hit all 5 of these things better than you ever have before. I'll tell you that in the year and half we've been playing on stage together, we've hit high scores for #2-5 (no fire marshals yet) at different times, so we feel like we've made a pretty good start.
Last night, we played at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora while a record-breaking snowstorm was moving into Illinois. It hurt our chances at #1, but #2 through #5 were outstanding and there were twice the people in that room than we thought might show up as a result of the forecast.
So our next time on stage will be in Milwaukee so that Tony (our bass player) can take our show to his hometown and we are all looking forward to being on stage with him in his element.
Maybe, just maybe, that will be The Best Show We've Ever Played