So today, 2 weeks after my virgin performance, I once again had the opportunity to play a few tunes during one of Toney's gigs. Toney's voice wasn't up to par today and it seemed there were many musicians in the pub willing to lend a hand. This was both good - because it was more like an open mike setting, and bad - because playing in front of other musicians just added to the nerves.
Anyway, since my first attempt, and along the advice given here, I have purchased a microphone (Shure SM58) as well as a mixer (the Behringer that jerome posted as such a bargain from Amazon). I only received the equipment earlier this week, but have made an effort the past few days to get more comfortable playing standing up and singing into a mic. Even the little bit of practice was very worthwhile.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done, my level of confidence and therfore playing was 10X better than the first attempt - not saying it was good, but it was a whole lot better. I chose some songs I thought I was more comfortable playing and singing and just watching the audience nod their heads in beat gave me added confidence. Goes to prove that musicians are awesome people - I felt the applause was heartfelt as they were all beginners once. Hey - If I can continue to improve at this rate, in a few years I may not be bad to listen to.
Lesson learned - I've got to got to practice these songs so I know them inside out backwards and blindfolded. It is so much easier playing at home than it is playing in front of people. If I flub at home, I usually have no trouble playing through it, and I've got to learn to do the same in front of a mic - most folks wouldn't even notice a missed chord if you can sing through it, but stop singing (like I did) and your dead.
The best part of the afternoon was after my short set, an 87 your old man asked to borrow my guitar and did a few "old country" songs. I was glad to oblige and the smile on my face lasted through all 3 or 4 of his tunes. May I be so fortunate to still be singing and playing when I am his age.
Thanks again Toney - You ARE the MAN!