The post gig blues

Tony Lind, aka Gramps
It’s a phenomenon I’ve been well acquainted with for my entire adult life, but never had an actual explanation for. I guess it’s a chemical reaction in the body. I call it the post-gig blues. I know many other musicians who deal with the same thing, although they probably have other names for it. It’s a strong sense of melancholy that sets in an hour or two after I’ve played a concert. And typically, the better the show was, the stronger the backlash is. And when it sets in, there is just no way to go to sleep until it wears off, no matter how physically exhausted I might be. I just have to ride it out. That is usually done by listening to music, having a couple of Jack Donald’s, or watching documentaries. After a few hours of this, I’ll eventually feel my mellow return, and I’m able to go to sleep. The only thing that really works as a quick fix for the post-gig blues is sex, and I suppose this might be one reason why musicians through the ages have sought company after performances, be it groupies, girl/boyfriends, livestock, or whatever.

I’m so used to this by now, that I’ll actually factor in this process when I make plans for the following day. I know that if I return home at 3:00 a.m., it’s highly unlikely that the post-gig blues will have worn off before 5:00 a.m. at the earliest, and so I’ll need to sleep in a bit to recover.

So, here’s my question: Is there anyone out there who can explain exactly what is going on during the post-gig blues in scientific terms? Not guessing or speculating, but someone who actually knows? Would you please share this knowledge with me? Inquistitive autodidact wants to know. (Tony Lind, aka Gramps)

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billymomo

Swedish 7 piece urban folk band. Tomas Juto: keyboard/lead vocals | Oskar Hovell: acoustic guitar/banjo/lead vocals | Tony Lind: drums/vocals | Oscar Harryson: guitar | Christopher Anderzon: bass/vocals | Mårten Forssman: harmonica | Andreas Prybil: percussion/vocals https://billymomo.wordpress.com

7 thoughts on “The post gig blues”

  1. I don’t know if you will find any study done that scientifically documents or addresses post performance (gig) blues, but I’ll give you my educated opinion about what might be happening. You are welcome to delete this reply since my opinion falls squarely under the category of speculation.

    I read an article recently about a study that found that music and sex stimulated the same area of the brain. Performing music is exhilarating, and so our bodies may react similarly to the excitement of performing music as they do to having sex. Post sex blues in men is documented and one of the culprits for men feeling the blues after sex is the hormone prolactin (if prolactin sound familiar, it helps women produce milk), which the body uses like a thermostat to shut off excitement, desires, hunger, etc., leaving an empty, depressed feeling after the excitement is over.

    That’s as close to scientific speculation as I can come, but I might be all wet. Like the Spanish say “¡Leche!”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting. I opened my news feed this morning and there was an article posted by The Daily Mail entitled “For Tiesto, connecting to audience is like ‘having sex'” Hmmm! You think he gets post gig blues?

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  2. I’m sorry not to endorse the myth of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, but I would call it the post-“any-intense-mentally-draining-activity-that-lasts-for-a-prolonged-period-of-time”-syndrome. I’ve experienced this a lot in my career as a computer programmer (and earlier as a student). You go 110% all in to do an exam or solve a difficult problem, and your brain winds up. Then it’s almost impossible to go to sleep, even if you feel exhausted. And you feel gloomy even if the endevor was a success. It takes several hours to wind down.
    The reason this is more noticeable for musicians (and computer hackers) is simply because that they work late nights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It didn’t have to be a complex answer, and it didn’t have to cater to my vanity, so your answer was refreshing and helpful. Thank you!

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    2. I’m a computer programer and musician. For me, the feeling after pulling all nighters to finish impossible deadlines on time is not quite the same as the feeling after playing a gig.

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