Why live music beats streaming services every time

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Why live music beats streaming services every time

photo via Brainerd Dispatch

photo via Brainerd Dispatch

photo via Brainerd Dispatch

photo via Brainerd Dispatch

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I have seen several concerts in my lifetime, including those of eight Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame bands, from U2 to Metallica to Bruce Springsteen. Thus, several times I’ve been asked the usual questions: “why do you go to so many concerts?” “Why do you spend so much money on tickets?” Why don’t you just listen to music at home?”

After explaining myself countless times, I think I’ve  come up with the  perfect answer.

First and foremost, almost all music sounds better live than on a pre-recorded album. The sound of an instrument plugged directly into the amp is more authentic and clean than any edited-to-death Spotify track could ever be.

Performing live also gives bands plenty of opportunities to improvise and generally improve the quality of their songs. Solo riffs often go on for minutes as the musicians wow the audience with their individual talents.

Viewing concerts as an ideal opportunity to experiment, bands sometimes adapt entire songs for live audiences. For example, I saw The Foo Fighters do a rock n’ roll version of John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine,” one which is unavailable on any mere album or website.

At a performance venue, the music also surrounds the concert-goers, as they can feel the bass reverberating beneath their feet, even through the air. The experience is therefore multidimensional, appealing to not only the ears but also the body as a whole.

Concerts are also a great way to meet new people and make friends. The music creates an automatic talking point between people; there is a sense of solidarity borne in their shared musical interest. I’ve met several people at concerts who I never would’ve encountered otherwise.

Going with friends is truly special as well, as it creates deeper bonds and shared experiences that will be remembered forever. Also, some concerts are like giant parties, which are bound to be a good time for everyone.

Overall, having the band right in front of you adds a whole new level to the experience. You feel a connection with the band and, depending on the size of the venue, you might even have personal interactions with the musicians.

I once saw a band called The Smithereens at The Kent Stage, a small historic venue, and was able to talk with the guitarist before the show. I told him that I played as well and, later in the concert, he let me play the last note of a song on his guitar, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Even at bigger venues, you can have these connections, as the band often makes eye contact with those in the crowd or singles out signs they like. Occasionally, the lead singer will even talk to people in the front rows between songs. At a Foo Fighters concert I attended, the lead singer, Dave Grohl, ridiculed a fan for having his phone out, a hilarious moment that set that concert performance apart from any album he’d released.

Last, but certainly not least, bands utilize breathtaking stage effects and put on a show similar to a play. Some bands, such as KISS, have built their entire brand on such theatrics.

KISS was my first concert when I was 10, and it was an amazing show. The band wore insane facial makeup, as they have their entire career so as to conceal their identities. Additionally, they brought a zipline that the lead singer rode across the stadium halfway through the show. It led to a platform above the audience, where he performed multiple songs. The bassist had a guitar shaped like an axe and breathed fire.

Before I went into that concert, I wasn’t a huge rock fan, but it inspired my taste for years to come. Their show on the stage literally changed my life, something pre-recorded music has yet to accomplish.

Overall, the concert experience goes beyond anything recorded music could ever hope to achieve. I guarantee that any good band’s performance will leave you breathless.