From experience, I know there is a ton of difference in my vocal ability - in the sound as well as the feeling - if I am well hydrated or not. Here's how to get more water in your tissues for optimal operation of your voice:
1. Drink a lot of clean water BEFORE your performance. Actually, increase your intake of water DAYS before your performance. It takes time for the body to hydrate the tissues of your voice, because the water you drink will first go to other tissues more important for life. You can survive not singing, but not breathing, not having your heart beat or your brain work will prove quite a bit more problematic! So make sure your body has time to send water to create the right viscosity in the mucous membrane covering your vocal cords. That is where the initial vocal sound vibration is created.
2. Drink a lot of clean water before, during and after performance! I like to use glass or stainless steel bottles when possible because plastic can leech into the water. However, if you forget your bottle, drink from plastic- it's better than no water!
3. Steam your throat. A shower, a hot bath, a pot of water with a towel over your head... expose your throat and sinuses to steam and breaaaaaathhhheeee it in! I really have to do this after plane or car rides because the air is so drying in those environments.
4. Drink watery drinks, but limit black or even green tea because of the drying effects. I particularly like to diluted pineapple juice with water 4 parts water, 1 part juice). I also recommend something I call "fire water" which is water, lemon juice and ceyenne pepper.
Anyone else have success with something to hydrate your voice for performance?