There was a time in my life when I lived for going to concerts.
This time was roughly from the moment I received my driver's license to the end of my undergraduate years in college when I officially declared myself broke.
I went to live shows whenever I could. I went to everything from small acts on my campus like Poster Children to big overblown acts/stageshows like the Rolling Stones. Pantera, Sponge, Local H, INXS, KISS (three times), Van Halen (three times as well), Great White, Lenny Kravitz, Aerosmith, Alice in Chains, Catherine Wheel, Buddy Guy, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. And many many more.
Heck, in one week's time, I saw Genesis, Rush (with Mr. Big), and Metallica (with Metal Church). How's that for a motley crew?
Oh, yeah, I also saw Motley Crue during their infamous Dr. Feelgood tour in '89. One of the best live shows I've ever seen. Of course, my mom had to drive me to that one since I was not quite legal. The next year, my dad drove me to see Poison and Warrant. He played the part of "heavy metal papa" to a T and even fooled one young girl into believing that he was actually there for the music. "Yeah, I love 'Cherry Pie'!" That sold her.
Once I got into grad school, the desire to spend the ever-increasing amount of money on tickets really took its toll on my concertgoing. During my three years of grad school, I don't think I really went to much at all, if any. However, the day of graduation (for both Katie and me) also doubled as the first time I bought concert tickets online... for Pearl Jam, no less. Hey, we were graduating. Time to splurge the money we didn't have. Since that show, I have only really gone to one other Pearl Jam concert, a Dave Matthews show, and the Barenaked Ladies New Year's Eve concert in 2002-03.
I'm drawing a blank as to any other concerts I may have gone to since grad school, though.
Aside from the money, I guess the other reason I don't really go to concerts anymore is because I'm not a big fan of many of the "aesthetic factors." I hate parking at concert venues. I hate circumnavigating crowds to find where I'm going. And I hate the fact that, no matter what, I will always wind up right next to that one over-enthusiastic fan that just insists that screaming his/her head off is a suitable tribute to the band even though everyone around him/her wants to throttle him/her as a result. One time, I actually did, but that's another story entirely.
So this little bit of news from Wired was right up my alley.
There are several groups in existence that offer up concerts that are BYOH... Bring Your Own Headphones.
Le Placard is a non-stop, streaming "headphone festival" featuring a series of live acts, that play, but not out loud. You must, literally, bring headphones and plug in to one of a series of sound systems to hear what is going on. People sit down in chairs, couches, or on the floor and just listen. Each concert, thus far, is 24 hours in length and, I'm assuming, you can come and go as you please so long as you have proof of admission. Each act plays for 30 minutes and there is no downtime between acts at all. And most of the performers are either relatively obscure or completely unknown and are solicited via Le Placard's site.
Isn't this what live music is supposed to be about? Listening to a live interpretation of a band's music that you may only be familiar with as a result of their studio albums? That's what it is for me. I want to hear the music and listen to the comments made by the artists. I want to enjoy it. I do not want to be forced to defend myself against an aerial Doc Marten onslaught by some random crowdsurfer.
If I wanted a fight, I'd walk into a Irish pub and declare that England should have exclusive political control over those drunken bastards (I'm partially Irish, so I can say this and get away with it). I'd walk around Wrigleyville in a Cardinals or White Sox jersey. I'd make my friend, Jason, give up drinking entirely.
But I don't want a fight. I don't want idiots moshing into me. I want to walk out of a concert intact and have memories of the music, not the melee.
Most of these shows have been held, so far, in Europe. However, the first U.S. show was held just this past weekend in San Francisco and was hosted by Plug. I hope they wind up bringing more shows to the States. I would love to see one in person.
All I want is music, thank you very much.