Our love-hate relationship with live music

Kazeem Kuteyi, staff

Laser lights, monstrous sounds, and high definition background videos of nature images were all elements of the Kanye West and Jay-Z “Watch The Throne” concert last November.

The show featured the artists’ biggest hits from their own albums as well as their joint album, which was released in August 2011.

The show was completely sold out and the whole spectacle left audience members in awe. For myself in particular, attending the Watch The Throne concert left a certain imprint on me, and practically forced me to brag to friends about how great and crazy the show was.

A concert creates an atmosphere that allows for fan to artist interaction (or at the very least it certainly feels that way) and the opportunity to hear songs in a different form.

For example, the performance of “Made In America” during the Watch The Throne concert added piano instrumentation, which carried the message of the song into more emotional depth.

The electric song “N**gas in Paris” was performed a total of five times, practically converting the Air Canada Center into a club. A concert is a place to hear music in a different way- live, in its most raw form.

Tom Leite, a student at Laurier Brantford, feels the same when it comes to listening to a favourite artist in concert rather than on an album.

I prefer the John Mayer concert because not only was the instrumental unique to each song, he also played a wide variety of his songs,” Leite explains. “I preferred listening to the music at the concert more so than the CD because he made the concert an experience that engaged me completely.”

For many concert goers, the idea of finally seeing a favourite musician in person makes their music more real, and much more exciting.

Even if the stadium is filled with thousands of other people, you still somehow feel a personal connection with the artist.

Another student, Amanda Smith, speaks about this feeling of connection during a Keith Urban concert she attended last semester.

“I like the Keith Urban concert because he was able to engage the audience and even incorporate them as a part of the concert,” Smith says. “He brought people on stage and went into the audience to perform songs and even gave away one of his guitars.”

Concerts do however have some disadvantages to it.

Student James Rumble explains that not all concerts go exactly as planned, and this can lead to some unfortunate mishaps.

“The concert was really good and the whole concept of the spaceship adventure was well done,” Rumble said about Kanye West’s 2008 “Glow In The Dark” tour. “His songs performed well in transition and even Rihanna and N.E.RD were sick. However, I was excited to see Lupe Fiasco open but since it was unorganized by the venue, it took us forever to get into the concert, and I ended up missing his performance.”

Similar to the disorganization at the concert Rumble attended, fellow student Steve Wettlaufer had a less than desirable concert experience.

I was at Sarnia Bayfest, the concert began to run behind schedule and when the closing act, Rascal Flatts finally got on stage, it was already after 11 p.m. On top of this, they blew a breaker twice and I was among many that left before the show even ended,” Wettlaufer says.

It seems that regardless of talent, sometimes the chaos and disorganization surrounding a concert can turn it into a frustrating experience, and may even cause you to miss a performance that you were originally excited about seeing.

Luckily for Wettlaufer, not all of his concert experiences have been bad. “When I saw Paul Brandt at The Sanderson Centre in Brantford, the experience was greatly complimented by the acoustics in the theatre creating a beautiful atmosphere.”

The experience of a concert can make or break your overall appreciation for an artist. While we can freely listen to their albums in the privacy of our own homes and appreciate their music, it is a much different experience seeing them perform live. Concerts can provide a hands-on interaction with an artist, but only if it lives up to our expectations, which can sometimes be unrealistic.

Whether it’s due to missing an important act, or unbelievable disorganization and chaos (and not the good kind of chaos), concerts can sometimes leave a sour taste in our mouths.

On the other hand, sometimes concerts can completely blow our minds and leave us in awe.

When it comes down to it, a blown mind is much better than a blown breaker.

Live shows can create a better or worse relationship between fans and musicians, you just need to make sure you have patience and reasonable expectations, while keeping in mind that you’re there to hear the music you love.

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