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With live music, we all fail and succeed together.

2017 January 1
by Mike Vial

Wrong, Dave Holmes. When it comes to live music, we all fail and succeed together.

I don’t want to pile on more jokes about Mariah Carey’s NYE mishaps; instead, I want to challenge us with an idea for the new year.

This year is an opportunity for both artists and music fans to make a choice: Do you want something to be real?

It’s out there.

You need to decide if you want it, support it, pay for it.

Because when you hear a singer lip-syncing during a live performance, you have traded the reality of live music for an illusion in the name of entertainment.

This trade-off isn’t morally wrong, but the problem is that the artist and fans don’t want see (hear) the trade-off. It’s like the action of photoshopping in an advertising. American society has created an expectation that isn’t reality; and we’ve lost sense of actual beauty.

However, we get glimpses of the illusion.

It’s cliche to cite a Beatles example, but bear with me, for last night’s NYE performance warrants it.

Last year, a live album of the Beatles (from the Hollywood Bowl, taped in 1964 & 65 ) was released. It demonstrates what many already knew: The Beatles were an incredible live band.

They played the first stadium shows with less than admirable equipment, few roadies, and never could hear themselves on stage over the crowd’s screams.

They were just very good at playing their instruments and they just had muscle memory so they could sing and play without being able to hear themselves. And that’s what The Hollywood Bowl was. – Giles Martin, interview on NPR

Now-a-days, we have reached a level of quality with musical and PA equipment that surpasses what the artists of the 60s could have imagined.

But when is the last time you heard a record that wasn’t extremely digitally manipulated? When is the last time you attended a concert there wasn’t background tracks being added by a laptop?

Those shows are still happening. Those records are being made.

This year is another chance to make a decision; and it’s a shared decision, by the artists and the fans. We, together, have to decide.

Do you want it to be real?



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