Most people I know have a very personal relationship to the music they listen to for all kinds of reasons outside the scope of right-here-right-now. So we’ll just stop at the following point: people tend to feel very strongly about music, and how they experience it.
Culturally, we tend to hold the live experience of music above it’s recorded experience. This is one of those strong feelings we have. But what does it mean when the live experience is trying to recreate the widely available recording? Or, maybe more importantly, how does your experience of the recorded music influence or frame your experience of the live show?
This is a little bit of a tough one, because we’re asking people to interrogate (and be objective about) their own preferences and biases, which can be confusing (I’ve seen more than one comment already where someone tells me I have no idea what I’m talking about, but then goes on to agree point by point with the video).
My hope beyond hopes is that the comments section doesn’t devolve into an argument about which format sounds better, but rather leads to a discussion about how mediated experience is really, really tough to avoid.
Like, for example, even if you love going to see “jam” bands, who play something different every time, isn’t your expectation about what they are going to play influenced in some way by the fixed recordings you are familiar with? This might make the conversation about adherence to styles and the boundaries of musical idioms, but thats an important part of the conversation. Does that band really play something “different” every time, or do they play within a style they have found popular based upon the success of their fixed media? If you like them for their “different”-ness… how would you feel if they got on stage, played a 2hr long, 0.01 BPM Neil Diamond cover and left?
I think some people find this idea threatening; as if I am suggesting that their favorite band does not put on a good live show because their recording is “better”. Not the case at all! It’s interesting, though, to note that as a group of people who take their musical preferences very seriously, the “chicken or the egg” like question of “record or live performance” can produce such a strong response.
THAT thing… is the thing I’m hoping people notice.