i’ve been to some amazing concerts in my lifetime. i’ve seen some great rock ‘n’ roll musicians and even some living legends. Most of these shows involve three to five musicians playing their heart out, encouraging the audience to dance, sing and sweat along with them. However, young audiences are far more sophisticated now. There needs to be more showmanship to hold attention spans. Everything must be extravagant, even to the point of obscuring the music.
A few years back i took my kids to see Muse. i’ve been following Muse for over a decade. An amazing trio of musicians, i’m thrilled they are getting the notoriety they deserve. i love to watch musicians, taking note of their style, technical prowess and manner of execution. There, on stage, were three amazingly gifted musicians, each with their distinct personalities and musical abilities. Matt Bellamy is absolutely a guitar master that combines Hendrix fretboard theatrics, Morello’s feral tones, with Page’s passion all while crooning with a stellar tenor vibrato not unlike Freddie Mercury or Geddy Lee. Then there’s Dominic Howard who executes distinct rhythmic music with Neil Peart creativity and Phil Collins pop sensibility. The ever stalwart Chris Wolstenholme pounds out growling, yet often melodic bass lines like a silent, gentle sentinel trying not to have fun.
This trio mix metal, progressive, alternative, electronic, pop, and classical music into an array of audio sensuality. i really couldn’t wait to see their fingers, hands, feet, and mouths deliver visually what i’d been experiencing with my ears for years. Undoubtedly the best concert i’ve ever seen, rather, i couldn’t see. Even though i was fairly close, i couldn’t see the band execute their musicianship because of all the blinding lights gleaming, flashing, and glaring off of the instruments if not directly aimed into our retinas.
But that’s the way it is these days. The kiddies gotta have their bling and more of it: enthusiasm with four extra helpings; the theatrics on a world stage; light to rival sol. The desire for theatrical music shows like Gaga’s is huge. The demand on the performers is great, too. With all that singing and dancing and jumping and costuming and set changing it’s no wonder Britney has to lip sync.
Say what you will about Katy Perry and her cheeky hubby, but this girl has much to compete with. Ever since stating, “I Kissed A Girl,” this pastor’s kid has grown up, out and sideways to become a pop icon in just a few short years. No wonder she has to do 15 costume changes on her current tour. In fact, just to keep up with Spears, Lady G, and Madonna, KP pulls off eight of those wardrobe changes while performing just one song, “Hot N Cold” (sorry guys, no wardrobe malfunction). If not intriguing. it’s exhausting to watch.
i’m all for art, theatrics, performance. But what happens to the music, the reason these artists are recognized in the first place, when all we see are exploding lights, bedazzling dancers, and more outfits in one performance than most people have in their closet?
Do you think the glitter distracts from the talent, or are the theatrics part of the point?