A major chunk of my time these days is put into producing a live performance show featuring original music, as you may know if you have browsed my site. The conversation came up recently about what sets an event apart and makes it something people want to be part of. Here's what started that conversation:
"Do you remember your first concert experience, and if so, what was it that made it so memorable for you?"
Upon hearing that question, I immediately went back to the year 1973 (or so) in my head visualizing the first major concert I ever attended at a hall in West Pam Beach, Fla. The headlining band was" Jethro Tull" and opening for them was "Mountain". Now I realize that these bands may not even be familiar to some of you, but they were among the best at the time. The excitement of being in a crowd all gathered in anticipation of sharing an experience was palpable and powerful enough to etch itself indelibly in my mind. It was electric to say the least. The smell of marijuana in the air signalled the "party" was on and was soon followed by the thunder of music that seemed to compress my body. By the time the show was over, the energy of the bands mixed with the collective energy of thousands of "lit up" people was enough to rival a spiritual encounter and though I didn't partake of the pot, I was high nevertheless.
You would think that might be most memorable, but you may be as surprised as I was at what happened next. As I had time to ponder the question further over the following days another deeper and even more meaningful memory came back to me. I was a middle-schooler at best. It was a steamy Friday night in the Gym/Auditorium and a band of young guys were playing songs I hardly knew at a volume I had never experienced before. I was so close to them I could have reached out and touched one of them. To be able to make eye contact with each musician mid-song and see clearly, vividly, how their music made them feel and move and how it did the same for the crowd was a pivotal moment along my own musical path of discovery. I still find intimate musical events to be the most rewarding for musician and audience alike and I tend to rate my own performances by how much energy I feel going back and forth between me and my listeners.
What about you?