“Recorded or Live?”

I have always enjoyed live music and take advantage of local opportunities to hear singer/songwriters I enjoy. We frequent two venues, Roaring Brook Nature Center and Infinity Hall, both in our area. Roaring Brook concerts take place in a small room seating about 50 people, with drapes over the snake tanks. The acoustics astound, and the intimate experience reminds me of my introduction to many artists in the 1960’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Club 47. Infinity Hall, more recently constructed to host small concerts, seats about 100, so all seats are perfect. Again, the acoustics allow a wonderful listening experience.

This spring we were going to attend concerts by the four musicians pictured above. From top left, John Gorka, bottom left, Gordon Bok, center, Keb Mo and far right Eliza Gilkyson. We have seen all but Gorka before, and were looking forward to seeing them again. I have listened to Gorka for years, but only in recordings. This was to be his first local appearance, and I was excited to listen to him at the nature center.

All were cancelled, of course, along with countless other live musical offerings from classical to hard rock. All performers suffer financially at the moment. Yes, I can continue to stream their music and they can continue to earn pennies each time I do. Still, they miss the chance to play before a live audience, an experience distinct from the studio. And we miss the magic of being there as the music plays.

Between live music in times of health and recorded music in times of a pandemic there is no contest. Live wins hands down.

18 thoughts on ““Recorded or Live?”

  1. Every experience does not translate into online platforms. For some things, like live music, everything in the live setting makes it what it is: the artists’ energy, the audience’s energy, the venue….

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  2. I have had mixed fortunes watching some of my favourites live. Mainly beacuse they start to over-indulge on stage, and tend to ruin the classic songs I went to watch them perform. Or because the venue is so huge, I end up watching them on a screen anyway, and can hardly hear them for the shouting of the audience.

    Otis Redding shouted his way through an all-too brief performance in my teens. Van Morrison failed to use the acoustics of The Royal Albert Hall to good effect, and mumbled incomprehensibly for an hour before walking off stage without so much as a nod to the audience.

    There were exceptions. Edwin Starr was maginficent in the small confines of London’s Jazz Cafe, shortly before his death. David Bowie was incredible at Wembley Sadium, as was Madonna. Both consummate professionals, and they gave the fans what they expected.

    But on balance, I would sooner listen to a CD, every time.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought I was the only one that preferred CDS. The exception being every day Melisa Ethridge does a free love concert from home. She tells the back story of the songs and it is almost as though she is in my room. So at 3:00 Pacific time I am glued to my Facebook concert.
      My experiences at mny live concerts have been less than steller. With people standing up in front of me, pot smoke choking me, people sreaming lyrics off key, and uncomfortable seating and crowds, I prefer to stay home. I realize that is not the case for others.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well I would avoid those big ones now too. And the one time we splurged on Van Morrison tickets we were disgusted by his lackluster performance. Fortunately Solomon Burke opened for him and he was astounding.

      Liked by 1 person

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