Musicianship is a superpower. If there is anything truly magical in this World, it is the human capacity and compulsion to make art, and of course the art itself. Books and paintings and hard copy audio recordings along with musical instruments are as close to talismanic objects as you can get. They are tangible, concrete items tactile to all the senses and then some; shareable and open to interpretation, their permanence like our own, in question. Lots of us have had new-found time to occupy this year, and at a time when there is more artistic material available for consumption than ever before, easily attainable at the behest of a few keystrokes and mouse-clicks. Just lucky I guess? 3 cheers for global pandemic? While I do feel blessed that my generation’s pandemic comes equipped with Netflix and on-line shopping, there is a gigantic hole in our lives as art enthusiasts and purveyors. I miss playing music with my friends real hard, gang. I miss hearing music come straight out of people that I can see right in front of me, cold beer in hand and friends all around.
A live performance of any kind is a one-off. No matter how many times you see the same Broadway show with the same cast, it will be different every single time. Same thing goes for live music. The absolute tightest unit playing the same set-list night after night will project variable nuances from show to show. You share that experience, that snapshot in time, with only the people that were physically there. No recording or video, re-telling or T-shirt will ever reproduce that show exactly like it was. And that is the super-power of musicianship. Whether it’s a Metallica show and you’re sharing the experience with 60,000 of your closest friends, or it’s listening to your daughter sprinkle out Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano, live music has a power that is exponentially greater than the sum if its mechanics and vibrations. It’s like a Ouija board window but into the spirit of the living, yourself included.
It’s likely been proven that these meldings of minds are important to humans as a species. The human need for hugs and handshakes, sex and live music are not only still there, but probably stronger than ever in this self-imposed dearth for the greater good. But never doubt that the music is still being made. Written, rehearsed and recorded if not performed (at least not live). It’s on us all right now as musicians and appreciators to keep it going. Lots of “stranded” musicians are moving to the internet and live streaming which we all know just ain’t the same. That said, seeing musicians in their native habitat, i.e. messy living-room (2nd after bars) is enlightening and can make you feel a more personal connection to the artist. Look up your fave local musicians and see what they’re up to. They’ll appreciate the visit and dropping a five or ten on their cause doesn’t hurt ‘em either. Until we meet up again, wallow around in a sad country song or go run your ass off to some punk rock. Whatever you do, don’t stop letting the super-power of music work on you.