Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To Be Heard and Not Seen

What's the point of paying $50 to attend a concert that you cannot see?

Where the security guards block you from entering the VIP section, bring you down from your illegal perch, and do not prevent other attendees from bumping into, spilling onto, or generally molesting you?

Where the best view is from behind the bar, behind a row of top shelf liquor and a box of M&Ms?

I got a sliver of a view tonight at the Massive Attack show at Terminal 5, a shit venue with generally a good enough line-up to force concert-goers to put up with its crappy sightlines. If I stood on my tiptoes, beyond the bar I could make out the distant faces of Martina Topley-Bird and Horace Andy, and squint through the quotations, political statements, and headlines that scrolled across the screen behind the band.

I wondered why I bothered going to the concert at all, spending $50 I could not afford, to barely see anything and listen to the live music muffled by the mezzanine above and practically drowned out by the chatter of the bar-dwellers surrounding me.

I wondered why I bothered going to any concerts at all, ever, unless I could get VIP access like my fellow music industry peers. They're almost always a disappointment when experienced from the perspective of a mere fan.

But when presented the opportunity to see a band I listened to in London in 1995, a watershed year in my life, a band who hasn't toured in four years and whose new record is actually quite good, I couldn't turn it down. It was a scene I wanted to be a part of, a scene I almost immediately hated as soon as I was a part of it.

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