Every week at Live Wired, we talk about different live performances, from national acts to OurStage artists, and attempt to explore what made each show unique and memorable. Despite what changes in the world of music, artists keep touring the country and the world, and we keep buying tickets to go see them. We can sit and review numbers and earnings from concerts or discuss how important touring is to an artist’s career, but that would be no fun. Instead, we want to get to the heart of the matter; why do we love live music so much? Why do we spend the money, take road-trips, wait in line for hours and sing until we lose our voices? These are the questions we asked all different kinds of people in the past few weeks; young and old, music lovers and casual listeners, all with very different tastes. Here’s what we came up with as we take a stab at figuring out the wonder that is live music.
Sense of Community & Good Atmosphere
When asking people about their best concert memories, the majority of the answers we received centered around the crowd itself and the overall feel of the show. Whether it’s a giant annual festival like Lollapalooza, or a band like Steel Train playing a small show, the people surrounding you are important. A combination of genuine respect for the artist and also for your fellow concert-goers can really make an event that much better; when you’re all focused on the music, it’s the only thing that matters. We heard lots of people tell us that going to a concert makes them feel like a part of a giant family. It’s an incredible thing, being surrounded by strangers who can turn into friends for one night just because you all are passionate about the same thing.
Artist / Fan Interaction
Who we’re paying to see is an important factor in the live music experience, and most people we talked to agree that an artist’s interaction with the crowd is an equally important part of the concert. Any band or musician can get up on stage and play their songs and leave, but that never makes for a memorable event. Then there are acts like Tommy and the High Pilots who takes the time to talk to their fans, or Matt Nathanson who cracks jokes with the crowd all night as if they’re close friends. Fans want to bring home stories and to feel like their favorite artist really wanted to put on the best show ever.
Pure Musical Talent
Some fans are purely captivated by the incredible way a musician is able to manipulate their instrument to perform their songs live. Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman was one fan’s favorite concert. He told us that, “it was almost as if he got it to bend to his will. . . he was in complete command of the Violin and the ease at which he was with the instrument was in sharp contrast with the passion and intensity and energy he brought to the concert”. It might not be the rock concert experience, but pure musical talent can make any show memorable.
The best things in life usually can’t be explained; at least not entirely. When describing their favorite concert experience, people often use some variation of the phrase: “there was just something about…”. One fan remembered a concert from years ago, where an unknown band opened the show at a venue with mediocre acoustics. They said there was just something about them that was great, and they had a feeling the band would make it big. That band was U2. Or, in some cases, the artist was such a prominent figure in the music world (The Who, Elvis Presley), that their status created an epic quality about the show.
We still want to hear your thoughts! What do you love about live music? Let us know in the comments and share your favorite concert moments!