on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2021 11 Mai

On viewing streaming shows

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | 3 Comments

It’s been a year since I went to a live show. Over that time I have tried to watch streaming shows in order to support the artists by paying a fee to “attend” these shows. It’s always the same thing though – I set up my stream through my big screen TV, set the sound to come out through my stereo, sit back and try to get excited about the show. It’s a weird experience, because no matter how many times I tell myself, “this is different – it’s live”, I don’t feel much of a quantifiable difference in my experience than if I were watching a BluRay, DVD or Youtube stream of a prerecorded concert. Why is that?

I’ve been in touch with Richie Beirach through Covid. He has a bunch of new material on his new website, interviews, books he has co-written on various musical subjects etc. There is one such video where Richie speaks of what it has been like for him during lockdown. For a jazz artist, the only way to ply one’s trade is to perform live for an audience. Richie says he doesn’t practice – he did that diligently for some 25 years and he really doesn’t need to. Indeed, Miles told Herbie and the band Not to practice, just to play on the gig in order to remain fresh. During this long monologue, Beirach is asked why he doesn’t participate in streaming shows. He says its because he needs the ambience of the room, the people sitting there who walk in as strangers and through some mysterious alchemy, join in a kind of musical communion that he claims can only occur when both the musician and audience are sitting in the same room together. He describes streaming shows as unfulfilling because there’s no “feedback” in terms of energy coming back from the crowd, like playing in a vacuum.




It’s interesting that this experience of disconnection is felt on both sides of the screen. I for one can’t wait until my first live show, possibly a concert of Paul McCandless and the Bay Area trio Charged Particles in a tribute to Lyle Mays’ music, coming up in a month or so. Should be a great show. Until then, I’ll be listening, but not watching so much.

This entry was posted on Dienstag, 11. Mai 2021 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I‘ve never been a regular visitor of concerts, at least in the last ten, twelve years. For whatever reasons. i had my decent amount of live epiphanies, but after I built up my electric cave, I‘ve lived the life of a monk in regards to listening. All alone with the music. Darkness, dusk, candles, inside.

    Traveling to PUNKT in Kristiansand, was my special live ritual. Things qould be different if I would lead my life near the Unterfahrt, München😉

    But here in Jazz Diaspora: Jesus, Maria, Joseph and the wee donkey!!

    In the time of the pandemia (don‘t be too sure that it‘s all over soon), I felt more and more the strong wish to see music LIVE again. All my memories about unforgettable concerts seemed like coming from another lifetime. On d upon a time in the deep Rurgebiet, the old DOMICIL, or the early years of MOERS IN THE SCHLOSSHOF…

    My last ticket I bought was early 2019, for a concert in summer. But then Covid didn‘t let it happen. UNDERWORLD IN COLOGNE.

    During the last weeks I had a strong connection with the LIVE album from The Natural Information Society with Evan Parker. A fantastic gig. I WISH I HAD BEEN THERE. Apart from that, I could let the music, all 75 minutes rush over me. One long track, four sides of vinyl.

    Funny, at the end, the applause didn‘t sound real. Joshua Abrams has good humour. He let the applause (from Café Oto, London) appear in slow motion – a kind of hint a the trance inducing power of the music.

    So – then again, it‘s soon time to put on the surround version Of THE ALLMAN BROTHERS LIVE AT FILLMORE EAST.

    Funny again: YOU HAD BEEN THERE, BRIAN, IN REAL LIFE, 1971.

    P.S. Maybe, the other Brian invites me to being part of his entourage, for his gig at the Acropolis😉. That would be my personal Pink Floyd at Pompeji-moment!

  2. Brian Whistler:

    Well, I just purchased my tickets to see Paul McCandless and the Charged Particles do their Lyle Mays tribute show next August. Hopefully it’ll be safe enough to hold the show. It’s outdoors so I feel by then it might just be ok.

    I understand your moving away from concert going. I don’t go nearly as much as I used to. But I do enjoy a good live show on occasion.. Hopefully SF Jazz will reopen for live concerts. It is an elegant space to see a live show. Superb acoustics, perhaps the best I have ever heard for music with a lot of transients, such as live jazz, but great for any chamber music. I’ve seen some exquisite shows there. And the SF Symphony is also pretty great. I miss the city, I really do. I’ve only been down there once in the past year or so. I miss my friends down there. I miss North Beach, a good Italian meal, the museums, the beauty of all those old Victorians etc.

    I hope you get that Pompeii invite. Sounds like an amazing adventure.

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I think it will just be a dream imagining the music at that power spot in Greece. It is damn hot in August there. Very challenging to present that kind of music on air.

    Maybe Brian adds rhythmic elements😉

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