Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tactic for enhancing concert experiences

To enhance the experience of going to a concert, don't listen to the act performing for as long a period of time prior to the performance as you are able.

That's the approach I'm adopting from here on out, anyway. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra rolled through here last weekend at the new downtown Sprint Arena. I usually have something playing while I read, and if the material doesn't require an extreme focus on my part, it might include lyrical stuff. But for the last few months I hadn't listened to TSO.

It paid off. While it seemed out-of-ear meant out-of-mind (before the concert, I wasn't as pumped as I'd been in the past), distance did make the heart grow fonder. It felt reminiscient of how it did when I was experiencing the music for the first time. More so than would have otherwise been the case, anyway.

The satisfaction I derived from having abstained for awhile might also be influenced by the false-closer (before the encore), bleeding over into all aspects of the performance, thereby enhancing my enjoyment of it. Going from the Ninth into a battle between the Fifth and Mozart's Requiem is more than I could've asked for:

(Although TSO is primarily known for their Christmas-themed albums, Beethoven's Last Night is my favorite).

Whenever I go on trips to places that are new to me, I bring an album I'm somewhat familiar with, and generally like, along. (With the IPod 'revolution', that's probably antiquated now, but it might just as well be an artist instead of a specific album). When I'm running or driving there, I'll listen to the album. From then on, hearing any of the music from the album brings potent memories from the trip to mind.

I've been doing it for about a decade, and it has worked tremendously well as a memory device. It is similar to the emotions and memories brought on by hearing what you and a girlfriend had designated as "your" (as in the identity as a couple) song.

While you're pining for memories past, don't go digging too deeply, though. Youtube has become a place where old music videos flourish. Finding the video of the song is unlikely to better the emotional experience, but there is plenty of opportunity for it to be soured.

Take the following Blues Traveler tune, for example. I became acquainted with it in Boulder. Still-shots of the Rockies would've been 100 times better than this. Now I'll have to struggle to block out the video whenever I listen to the song!

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