Hi guys, I agree with Tony's approach re: BEG. The general public (clubs, public venues, weddings, parties, etc) expect to hear recognizable tunes. I frequently will begin a tune in the familiar associated (cover?) style, but then transition into a fresh new groove later on in the song. I might also do a medley of familiar tunes, but throw in a more obsure song (or even an original) in the middle of a medley or in a show set. Now my audiences are asking for MY renditions , not the so-called cover versions.

If you can satisfy the audience with what they expect FIRST, you'll then have them in the palm of your hands, and then they'll be more than receptive to hearing originals & more obsure material as well. Performance success requires BOTH musicianship AND showmanship. The problem seems to be that many so called musicians have one but not the other. Worse yet, Some have neither.