We’ve all been there. You’re standing there at a gig, you feel excitement whilst the room waits anxiously for the lights to dim and for the band to take the stage. Finally the headline act strikes that first chord and appear. You expect everyone to start cheering and jumping around. The reality is that as soon as the band sets foot on that stage your vision suddenly becomes a sea of brightly lit mobile phones and video cameras. Great.
Now it’s fine to take back a memory of that gig you’ve enjoyed (I do this myself) however surely a gig is meant to be enjoyed when you are actually there? It’s about getting involved with the crowd, singing back the lyrics and getting very hot and sweaty in the process, not standing with a camera for 2 hours! Well you may still get hot and sweaty but not with the same satisfaction.
My main point is that if you wish to watch a gig then stream it from your computer or buy the live DVD. If neither of those are an option however I would still suggest that the live performance ‘then and there’ is fully worth the lack of video evidence. Gigs are to be enjoyed and if you stay behind a camera for the full duration you’ll have a nice video to watch however you’ll know you could have enjoyed it A LOT more by getting involved within the pure atmosphere instead.
Another point also is that many bands don’t appreciate videos online of their live gigs in a potentially low quality of video. Now HD video cameras are improving this dramatically however the sound quality is still not going to be as well produced as a properly EQ’d live DVD would produce. Plus every time I’ve been shown a video from a gig I get told “Oh but this doesn’t really do it justice… you should have been there”
Sometimes it works in the artists favour to build the buzz around a new unreleased single/album with thousands of live videos from their fans however not all bands want their new song exposed that night to the online world, it was intended only to those who made an effort to see them live that night. As a gift if you may. Anyway, the studio version of the track itself is usually better on first listen than the live video recording is, why deny yourself that first listening pleasure?
So it’s time to put down the camera, open your eyes and enjoy that gig! If you share my view I’d love to hear about your own experiences, and if you disagree well I’d be happy to discuss this further with you in the comments below.