Bill Allred's Jazz Ban

What’s so great about the “Live Music” experience?

Since this blog is based on the attendance of live musical events, I probably should address the basic question:

Is it really worth the time and money to travel to a concert or musical performance when you can listen to the same performers and music on CDs, streaming media, or youtube?

My answer:  YES!

My adult-aged kids and I have had this discussion, and they don’t seem to feel that attending a live performance offers any benefits over listening to a recording or watching a DVD or youtube video.  Perhaps it’s because of the travel time involved in simply getting to a concert from our home in rural Iowa (an hour’s driving time just to Des Moines or Iowa City).

But here are some of the advantages of attending a live performance:

  1. The Total Immersion Experience. Only by being present in person can you soak up the atmosphere of a concert venue, feel the excitement of the crowd and the musicians, eavesdrop on the musicians as they warm up, clap and whistle at the end of a tune:  all this and everything involved in being at the concert becomes part of your sensory memory of this unique experience.
  1. Becoming One with the Audience. Well, that sounds rather zen, but I’m thinking about the social aspect of being a part of the audience.  Not only are you likely to meet and talk to some very interesting people who share your tastes in music, but being among appreciative listeners adds to the pleasure of the performance.
  1. The Opportunity to Meet the Performers. I’ll admit that being a basically shy person I sometimes don’t take advantage of this opportunity, and obviously, at a large concert it’s difficult to get anywhere near the musicians.  However, at the jazz festivals I’ve frequented around the Midwest lately, I’ve made an effort to approach and talk to the musicians, usually after they’ve performed.  Universally, the experience has been positive.  Even if there is no time for more than shaking hands and telling them how much I enjoyed their performance, it’s so worth it to establish a human connection with the performers.

There are more advantages to being there in person, such as the chance to buy the artists’ CDs, the ability to talk to the volunteers and venue promoters, and the chance to visit restaurants and attractions near the concert venue.

Can you add to this list?  Why do you attend live performances?

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