I don’t miss going to gigs. I spent most of my life there for the best part of 25 years either with bands I was working with or choosing to go and see others in the time I had off. And looking back I saw pretty much everyone I wanted to.
Now here’s the difference…………..I actually saw them, I wasn’t just there. Today you can re mortgage your house and get yourself a ticket somewhere up in the Gods to ‘see’ a band. It’s not the same, something is happening on stage and to prove you haven’t been ripped off they’ll show the performance on a couple of screens in the arena and you can then see it’s the show you paid to see.
I feel very lucky though that everyone who ever meant anything to me I’d seen in a concert hall of less than two thousand. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, The Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen…the list goes ever on. I saw Bruce earlier this year courtesy of my ex who very kindly bought me a ticket to the Tampa show. A huge amount of money to be seated up several tiers and I couldn’t help been taken back to the Manchester show when he was touring around ‘The River.’ I’d bought the best part of the two front rows of the circle and re sold them to my friends at Granada TV…I knew the ticket agency so I got them to reserve some seats and it just grew and grew and grew!
Needless to say the show was incredible but what made it so good was you could see the energy close up, the sweat on his brow, the facial expressions , the interaction with his band, you could see it all. Sound and vision all rolled in to one…..it felt like he was there performing just for you. Bruce isn’t the only one who misses those days, he’ll still turn up and jam at a small venue with someone he likes, he needs the buzz he gets from seeing the whites of people’s eyes. His show has been tailored for arenas for a couple of decades now because he has become so huge but as used to it as he has become I bet he yearns back to that golden era when performances were so much more intimate. It was so personal.
With bands like REM, U2 it was even better as I watched them grow up playing clubs and performing to a handful of people. While the price of success means a greater demand for more people who want to see you, I can’t help but wonder that for so many concert goers today it’s all they have….stadia tours seem to be the norm.