While I'm sure many of us rehearse on a regular basis with our bandmates or rehearsal/practice and prepare at home on our own. But, are we prepared for the unexpected ? You know, when the singer fly's right past the bridge and goes to the next chorus or goes right to your SOLO ! Uhmm, interesting, now what. We typically only prepare for the EXPECTED. Certainly we prepare for the "ORDER" of things but are we prepared for the "OUTSIDE THE BOX" scenario ? Because they come up often and someone has to respond in milliseconds and bring the entire unit back to ground zero, wherever that may be. Being a polished prepared player is one thing, a good thing, but being prepared to deal with the unexpected is quite another , because it happens, and probably more often than we realize. There are no chord charts, no lyrics on an Ipad etc , that can prepare us for this. Its on US. Its our instinct. MENTAL preparation, Mental awareness , every song. If we think we have been to shows where the performing bands were great, every song, we are probably mistaken. I can imagine a top notch band going back to the Green room laughing.."I can't believe we missed that bridge " . Fact of the matter is , only they knew, nobody else knew. How do we prepare ? Its a totally mental process, maybe not following the rules or the rehearsed format, but following the other players. Its called paying attention, not just to the song but to everything thats taking place musically. Things can easily go real bad in a NY minute but if we are paying attention, we can probably avoid it or even turn it into a PLUS. TRUE: Last summer I played a reunion/memorial show up in Ct , I played with bandmates that I have not seen in decades. We rehearsed the night before and it was like we had never stopped playing together. OK, not so fast. The show the next night, we opened, in front of maybe 2000 people in the field. We only had to play two songs. First one went ok, second one, well, not so OK...It was Hendrix "FIRE". Uhmmm what happened to the prelude part that led up to the solo ? GONE-MISSING- Now what, its a vital part of the song. The solo is built around that prelude. Well a whole bunch of decades of standing in front of people with a guitar took over, thank god, as I was the only guitar player and there was nobody else to lean on. My mind was in an "Uh Oh " moment for a second or so. The Bass player and I looked at each other and just kinda grinned , we picked up the 2nd half of the guitar solo which led us back to the verse again. We both knew. When we got backstage we laughed and even funnier was that the drummer and singer didn't even realize it ! So much for rehearsal . Many players who have been performing for decades can write a book sighting all the songs that were screwed up over the years, in front of audiences, yet nobody knew . So be prepared ,not just musically ,but mentally. Because its going to happen to you if it has not already. And more than 1 time. Consider this a public service announcement.