Is it really about the music anymore?
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 02:03
Concerts. Music. Shows. We all love to attend them, chat about what we expect when attending a certain artist’s show and chat even more about how the show actually went afterwards.
This weekend, I’m thrilled to be attending one of Eric Clapton’s concerts in New Orleans. This man is a musical legend. I’ve been to quite a few concerts (including one extra-flashy concert in Central Park featuring none other than Lady Gaga herself), and I’ve watched a great number of award shows on television, which always manage to bring about the competitive edge among the artists who are performing at the show. It seems artists (and audiences) always like to see whose performance can top the previous performers.
Although some artists manage to weave the flashy aspects of what society deems as an “entertaining show” with the music they are actually there to perform (I’m pointing my finger at Beyonce, the master at weaving together entertainment and musicality), some artists who attempt to put on a show while still showing off the music we love so much manage to fail miserably.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than sitting in front of the TV watching an artist perform with a light show, fire and awesome dance moves, only to sit back and truly listen to the artist butcher his or her beloved song because the focus is not on the music, but on everything else.
If I’m at a show or watching my favorite artist perform on television, I want to hear the music. I want to hear the artist sing the song beautifully, soulfully and passionately. I’ve realized that maybe we, as an audience, expect to always be entertained visually or have all our senses pleased at one time, putting so much pressure on artists to do everything but sing their songs well.
True musicality in an artist these days is rare. Musicians don’t really focus on the music; they focus on the show. We’ve trained ourselves as a generation to accept crap music in replacement of a good performance, rarely accepting true music in place of a flashy performance.
It broke my heart a few years ago when Paul McCartney was asked to perform the halftime show at the Superbowl after the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake catastrophe at a prior Superbowl halftime. It broke my heart not because he was performing, but because every single person from my generation destroyed this artist, musician and legend for performing his music, instead of dancing so hard he sounded horrible and having so many lights on stage your focus was everywhere but on the artist himself.
This brings me back to my original point of even bringing up Eric Clapton. I’m not sure what to expect this weekend at his concert. I’m not sure if it’ll be flashy or if he’ll simply stand on stage or sit on a stool and perform. I’m not sure, but I’m excited to find out. I’m eager to go to a concert and hear some music from an artist who will perform his music and perform it well, even if it means that it’s not as showy as Gaga.
This generation, myself included, sometimes puts too much pressure on artists to get out and rock our worlds instead of sitting back and allowing the artist to come perform for a crowd that should be just as excited if the show contained fire, dancing elephants and a light show to please the gods, as we should be if the artist chose to simply sit and perform his or her music to the best of their God-given ability.
Honestly, who wants to pay sometimes hundreds of dollars for great seats to a concert that sells out in 30 seconds only for the artist to focus on everything but the one thing you came there to listen to and celebrate: the music.
Just sit back, relax and enjoy the music. Make a connection with the music and mission of the artist, not with the flashy lights and production of it all.