I went down a little bit of a YouTube rat hole the other day watching a playlist full of videos where musician fans of big artists get pulled up on stage to play with the band. It started here:
Which in the replies led me to this playlist:
Some of them are a little too obviously pre-planned – the 11-year-old who magically ends up on stage with Carrie Underwood has her own YouTube channel with 30,000 followers – but most of them are genuinely delightful.
For instance, this one where a teenager joins Bruce Springsteen on stage to sing “Growin’ Up”:
Or the college kid here who boldly asks Billy Joel to sing “New York State of Mind” while the kid plays the piano, and proceeds to win Joel’s grudging respect:
But hands down, the winner in these has to be anybody singing the “For Good” duet with Kristen Chenowith. There must be a dozen of these on YouTube. And why not? It’s a beautiful song, just challenging enough to let a good vocalist shine, some nice harmonies. And Chenowith is a generous performer, encouraging her amateur counterparts, guiding them along through the song, and seeming to genuinely enjoy the experience. Here’s an example:
I think I love these so much because you see momentary flashes of the true joy of making music together, and you get reminded that while a lucky (and very talented) few make it big, there are talented musicians everywhere who could, on a given night, step in and hold their own with their favorite band.
As a musician myself you can bet I’ve had idle daydreams where I was in this sort of scenario myself. But even though I’d give my eye teeth to do the Behold the Lamb of God Christmas show with Andrew Peterson and gang, it always seems uncharitable to wish that Ben Shive would break his hand and need an impromptu replacement. (But if he ever does, Andrew, give me a call, eh?)