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The Value of 'Live'

An article about performing-Arts and music-related topic

By Ralph Schatzki

for La CoffeeMelodie Suite

  • The Value of 'Live'

  • Local Business

    Nowadays, at the push of a button you can have hundreds of television channels from which to choose, or you can go to a movie theater at which ten or twenty different movies are all playing at once. Television was not always such a ubiquitous presence, however, and there are still some who can remember when live radio broadcasts were the cutting edge in entertainment and movie theaters had but a single screen. Of course, prior to that, the only way to see a show was to view it "Live".

    The word "Live" is something of a misnomer, of course, since everything is done- at the time- live. It's the connotation that a performance is not edited or polished in any way that makes it "Live". Today, we are now so used to listening to our favorite songs, or watching our favorite TV shows or movies, polished to perfection, over and over. This single version of an event becomes the "legitimate" one, and a "Live" performance, at least on one level, strikes some as decidedly odd: perhaps a relic of an older age.

    Yet, if you have had the good fortune to attend a live performance- whether it be a rock band, symphony concert, opera or community theater- you will surely notice an excitement that is conspicuously absent in the recorded versions of our entertainment choices. There is a palpable energy you feel, perhaps because you are present at the moment of artistic creation. Maybe it's the fact that you simply don't know what will come next, and that unpredictability keeps you enthralled. Or, maybe it's because you, simply by the virtue of being present, are actually part of the experience!

    Having ten thousand songs or five hundred movies at your immediate disposal is a wonderful thing- something the people of two or three generations ago would find astounding- but it also cheapens the value of each song or movie. After all, if something is so easy to obtain, then, regardless of its intrinsic worth, it has far less value to us simply because of its ubiquity. "Live" performance, though, is unlike anything else, and helps lend a newfound respect for art and artists. It is something we should seek out, support, foster and nurture.

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