I came across an article recently about how our generation, (I suppose us twenty-somethings) are not so eager to go to concerts and venues where live music is being performed. It is worrisome because the experience of seeing music performed
live Is something special, yet seemingly something that our generation is increasingly not seeking opportunities to experience. Let me put out the question to you, the reader. Do you remember the first time that you went to see one of your favorite bands play live?
I remember mine as a night that I will not soon forget. It made me realize and appreciate the power of great songs and a huge audience who came to the show for the songs, not the man singing them, (well… not entirely, since a lousy musician with good material is kinda lame). This arena full of people who were teenagers at least 30 years ago were there to see the “Piano Man” himself, Mr. Billy Joel.
I thought, “Who the heck is this dude!?” having only heard the DJ’s on the radio announce just a few of his songs on the radio as my mom pounded out a rhythm to “It’s Still Rock ‘N Roll To Me” or “Just The Way You Are” (not the Bruno Mars version). I had no clue! So those two hours of feel-good piano rock set to lyrics of the average man’s existence plus 40+ year-olds re-living their teenage years changed me. I went from clueless ignorance of a Rock icon to a Piano Man junkie!
Live music is great in that aspect, because of the ability to surprise and tantalize. Yet, I know that folks could argue that this same giddy discovery could happen in finding a great CD in one of those second-hand record stores, and yes, I would agree with such people.
Maybe it is not then, just the fact that live music can lead to a sense of discovery when good music is not sought after, yet it is found. Perhaps it is instead, the setting that it is done – through the headphones or among an adoring crowd that sends its love, energy, and joy to the band, who then sends its passion and this passion’s fruits which is the song playing which is felt by the audience who adores the band even more… Can you see a relationship here?
This two-way, musician/audience-as-an-entity relationship cannot be duplicated or falsely synthesized as is done nowadays with “live” and “unplugged” recordings. The listener may hear the audience noise in the headphones and conjure up a realistic scenario of the concert they are hearing, but is this the same as being there? No way!
I wish that I could put things into better, more eloquent words, but perhaps that is the ultimate point in seeking out live music – that there is a point where mere words fail! It must be experienced for oneself. Seek out live music – it is worth more than your solitary world that you find within your headphones!