I ended up playing Thursday's show fairly acoustic, only performing with my band for half the set. My abilities to let it rip over the band were limited, and I decided to make my performance more soft and intimate. Saturday, my set was entirely acoustic, and although I feared sounding like a cartoon character (I was SICK), I really felt that I was able to connect with audience on a deeper level.
So here's the question of the day: would I rather play acoustic or with a band?
To tell you the truth, I have mixed feelings. I always love playing with solo piano because it allows me a lot more artistic freedom and it feels more personal. Since the songs are admittedly about my own life experiences, I sometimes feel that I can tell an even greater story when I play alone. However, there is something special about playing with a band that I can't get when I play alone. Obviously there is always a certain sense of camaraderie among all the musicians, but I especially love hearing other people that I play with bring my songs to life. It's just awesome.
I guess it all depends on the mood I'm in, and what's appropriate for the venue I'm playing. Whenever I want to have more direct and intimate conversation with my audience, I'll probably play acoustic. That's when I feel the songs are the most honest. The space that isn't filled by the band really allows people the room to think about what I'm saying, and allows me to make my performance even more dramatic. All the pauses can be longer, and I can hold on to each word for as long or short a time as I want. However, if the setting is a little bigger, louder, and more suited for head-bobbing, I'll probably play with a band. I've grown a great deal as a performer by doing both.
I'll leave you guys with two videos of "Monday." One with my band, one acoustic. You guys can decide which version you like better. ;-)