Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"A three-fold utopian dream"


The Incubus show last July was my first real concert experience
I spent the week as a volunteer liaison officer at the CCP Jazz Festival. One of the perks, aside from getting to hang out with an interesting (and brilliant) group of people, is getting to watch all the shows, and the rehearsals for free.

I've been on a music-induced high all week, mostly because of all the great jazz shows I saw. I wanted to write about how happy I was, but the words were lost on me, until I thought way back to the Incubus concert last month, and realized upon reliving that experience just how powerful live music can be.



Watching a concert or a gig live is quite the experience. It's obviously very different from watching a Youtube video, or listening to the songs on your iPod, or even watching a 3D concert movie. These things, while very personal and fun in their own ways, do not compare to seeing, hearing, feeling music played live.

royal hartigan and blood drum spirit during rehearsal
It's a full-on sensory experience. There is, of course, the music, which somehow comes across slightly different from its recorded incarnations, probably because you don't just hear it, but feel it pulsing beneath your toes and over your skin. To add to that, you are encapsulated in a little dark bubble, with the flashbulbs of a million cameras going off at random intervals, creating a light show of sorts,  not blinding, but inducing subtle hallucinations so that combined with the feel of the beats and the sound of the chords and the taste of your own mouth, dry from shouting out your beloved musician's name, you feel as though you are entering some sort of twisted, brazen, temporary paradise that is only for you, the musicians, and everyone else who is sharing the moment with you.

Our lives are so saturated with things that have been filmed or recorded, or published --- things in past tense, things that belong to yesterday, recent, or long gone. Concerts give us that much needed dose of the present. The fact that they unfold in real time forces you to live in the magnitude of the moment and abandon all reminisces of the past or imaginings of the future.


On the other hand, strangely enough, each song that plays helps you recall in Proustian stupor small moments and memories, but also inspires promises and hopes for the future, especially when you yell out for an encore, asking the band to play one more song, and when you beg them to come back for another show. It's all a strange time warp where the past, present, and future all sort of melt into one another, and create a whole new dimension that exists only for that night.
me with my new friend, 
AMAZING blues musician, Shun Kikuta

Then of course, at the end of it all, you can brag about seeing that particular band or musician play live until the end of time, in the same way that people who've met the Queen can say they've met the Queen. You know you've been part of an exclusive experience, something out of the ordinary, something that doesn't happen everyday, and sometimes happens just once in a lifetime.

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