Since sometime very late in 2005, I've spent a fair amount of time at various open mics around the Boston area. Some are "better" than others, which in open mic terms pretty much means that at some people listen to you and at some they don't even pretend to. Overall, I don't really like open mics. All too often I spend the evening feeling like everyone in the room just wishes everyone else would hurry up and get off stage so his turn would come faster. And sometimes the performers are actually terrible (you know it's true, don't get all uppity on me).
There is one thing I love about open mics, though: the moment just before someone begins to play, sometimes extending into the first moments of the first song. For just a few seconds, the person on stage could be my new favorite artist, could be the Next Big Thing. The song could be brilliant, the voice could be beautiful, the playing could be exquisite.
Alas, I'm usually disappointed by what follows (now you can get uppity - I'm a bitch, I know). But I do love that moment of anticipating the possibly-great, that Moment Before. It's the beauty of the beginning.