Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Live Experience of a Show

One thing I've never understood is the need to document every aspect of our lives for posterity.  This becomes especially difficult if you attend a show. 

What I love most about going to a show is the freedom to turn off from our every day lives and experience something real and in the moment.  However, without fail, there is always someone insists on recording the entire experience.  Now, I can accept that they want to record it for themselves, but they continually insist that somehow their act of preservation through filming supersedes my action of first hand experience.

At the Pietasters show I attended on Friday night, there was a woman right in front, who insisted on moving up and down the front row to film the show at the oddest angles. At one point, she was trying to film inside of a saxophone with a camera phone.  While I've never witnessed a show from the perspective of the saxophone, I'm fairly certain that it is an experience that no one needs, since the video would not be capturing anything of interest and the sound is almost certainly all saxophone, as it will drown out the remainder of the music.

It actually became so bad, the poor woman was oblivious to the crowd swelling behind her and pushing forward to scream into Steve Jackson's microphone, which managed to push her to the ground and cause her to lose her glasses.  She did find her glasses and she certainly broke no bones, but she was so focused in her act of cultural preservation, she let her self-preservation go. 

I think this speaks louder to our general need to record everything, destroying the concept of shared memory and human experience, because the machine recording becomes the maker of the actual record, even though I've watched videos from shows I've attended and the sound is completely different once you watch it filtered through a phone and loaded to the internet.  I think these actions destroy part of our human experience and we end up choosing to believe our machines over our memories.

As for the Pietasters, they were excellent as always, providing a high-energy show packed with their classics and a strong selection of their newer songs, which are far better than the average ska band from the 1990s recording new material.  If they are playing in your area, I would strongly recommend going to see them, though I do ask that you try to enjoy the experience live, while you are there, rather than distill it for future generations.  

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