I consider myself a music fan, although I’m not an avid musical enthusiast like some of my friends – whose collections of CDs, MP3s and even records are extremely impressive. I have a few favourite bands and am willing to give most genres a chance to potentially expand my musical horizons. I’ve been pleasantly surprised and utterly disappointed in my time, much like I presume we all have.
Everyone who likes music should logically enjoy a good live show, right? Whether it’s your favourite big time, multi-platinum selling band (or just that niche/reasonably successful band or artist) or the guy/group pumping out covers of some classic tunes in the beer garden of your local pub, live music is usually quite an enjoyable experience. I’ve only ever been to a few big music shows myself – I’ve been to a couple of festivals and have seen a few of my favourite bands play here in Brisbane and I’ve become immersed in the atmosphere every time.
In the absence of tours from my favourite bands and artists I’ve found YouTube to be a valuable resource for both listening to random new music and for tracking down live versions of some of my favourite songs. It has been while doing the latter that I’ve come across some interesting comments (and an experience or two of my own) that have prompted this post today.
To me, going to a live show – especially a concert where ticket prices exceed $100 for the nosebleed section; entitles a person to enjoy the event in their own way. I’m a person who likes to loosen up, let go a bit and sing and dance if the mood and music strikes me. It has been brought to my attention that there are others who do not follow a similar train of thought as I do.
Some people are of a seemingly very firm opinion that when attending a live musical performance, one must remain personally vigilant and respectful of the artist at all times. The only noise one should generate is the appreciative applause when the artist has completed their current song.
Sorry champ, but when Counting Crows hit on “Mr Jones” or the Foo thrash out “Monkey Wrench”, there is NO WAY I am standing still with my mouth closed. You leaning forward and saying “I paid to hear them sing, not you..” is not going to change that.
So when I’ve been browsing YouTube for songs and have found some fantastic live versions of songs, I’ve found it very interesting to read comments like “I hate it when people sing along, it ruins the whole experience.” Come on – that IS the experience! If I wanted to stand or sit quietly and listen to the song, I’d put on the CD or play the MP3. But even then I doubt I’d sit quietly. They’re my favourites artists – and songs that I love because they stir me into action and thought! They energise me, envigorate me, inspire and remind me. Of things I’ve done, places I’ve been, people I’ve met and loved and lost. I’ll never understand how people can sit through the energy and vibrance of a live performance from bands and artists like Foo Fighters, Counting Crows, Live, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and Christina Aguilera. Yeah, I just said I’ve seen Christina Aguilera in concert.
Another thing I’ve considered when reading some of the anti-singing comments on YouTube is this – How awkward would it be in those moments when the performer has a crowd participation moment? You know, they feel like resting their voice for a bit or just giving in because the crowd is taking over with their own singing anyway, they hold their microphone out or do that palm-up rousing motion and then – *crickets*. Mmmm, totally worth it for everyone. (I think I remember something like this happening to Elton John or someone of a similar profile once – during a concert they engaged the crowd and no-one knew the words to the song, or that particular part at least. Anyone who knows what I’m talking about, feel free to tell us the actual story!)
So that’s me, what do you think? Does buying a ticket to a live show give you the right to possibly annoy others when you find yourself overtaken by the urge to be involved? Do you hate having to constantly poke people next to, in front of or behind you to get them to stop jumping around so you can calmly enjoy the show? Are you a performer yourself? Do you prefer people singing along or would you prefer that they all shut up and let you do your thing?