The whole “OMG YOU MUST SEE THEM LIVE” argument has never really washed with me. In my admittedly limited experience of going to gigs, the experience of hearing a beloved band (or, in one case, a beloved band of my friends’, and one which I was totally unfamiliar with) performing their best work on stage is infinitely inferior to sitting down, putting their album on your high-falutin’ home theatre setup and cranking up the volume.
For one, the people in charge of the mixing desks at all the gigs I’ve been to felt that the bass should clearly be the highest number, meaning the subtleties of the sound were completely overwhelmed by the WHUBBBB WHUBBB WHUBBBBB of the bass. I know there are people who specifically go in search of music that goes WHUBBBB WHUBBBB WHUBBBB but I’m not sure there’s as much crossover with fans of guitar bands as some sound engineers think.
The other thing is all those bloody other people that are milling around blocking your view, bumping into you and spilling your drinks. You may well give the “oh, it’s all part of the atmosphere” argument here, but, well, I think we’re rapidly establishing that the only kind of atmosphere I’m particularly interested in is one where I can sit in front of the fire with a pipe and listen to some records of the hippity-hop music on my high-fidelity home stereo audio system, preferably with some sort of family-friendly dog or cat sprawled out in front of the fire at the same time.
My attitude towards a lot of live music, I think, is why I’ve never had any interest whatsoever in going to Glastonbury, Reading or any of the other festivals there are. Living out of a tent? Fine, I could do that. Living out of a tent and sharing limited toilet facilities with approximately eleventy bajillion unwashed hippies smoking the crack? (Well, maybe not all of them smoking the crack. Some of them are shooting up heroin.) No thanks. The toilet facilities on my primary school camping trip terrified me enough to not shit for a week (I wouldn’t recommend it — that first shit after a week will 1) be immensely difficult and 2) present you with some of the more unpleasant things that will ever come out of your body) so I shudder to think the effect that Glastonbury would have on my bowels and arse, especially with the quality of the food as it is there.
Perhaps I’m missing the point. I have a feeling that I am, because otherwise that many people wouldn’t converge on Glastonbury year after year and see apparently increasingly-mainstream headline acts (I believe Beyoncé is on as I write this) and mutter to themselves about how it “used to be better”.
Ah well. Live and let live. They have their field full of mud. I have my pixelated tower block simulators and 2D multiplayer Team-Fortress-2-in-aeroplanes joy Altitude (which I discovered tonight — seriously, it’s awesome). I think we’re all happy with our lot. Ish, anyway.
(As an aside, can I just say that this weekend has gone by entirely too quickly for my liking and I’d very much like another one, please. That said, this week I’m expecting to be able to share some exciting news, so perhaps it’s good that this week is starting imminently.)