Music makes me happy, and live music can be the best of all. I’m fascinated to watch musicians listen to each other on stage as they take turns to riff. It’s one of many added benefits of live music.
You’ll see all degrees of listening – in-the-mood in the main, but also respect, surprise, the odd wince, right through to definitely-thinking-about-something-else. Naming no names, of course, for civility’s sake. In most cases they’ve heard it all before, often.
I loved how these blues players listened with intensity, as if they were hearing each other play for the first time. The stage lights had simplified their colours to blues and magentas and the steel guitar had become abstract, rippling gold.
When it’s played live, a song can be simultaneously familiar and reinterpreted – delivered a touch faster perhaps, with more soul, or with altered lyrics in a nod to a different place or time. On a good day, the rhythm takes on a live ‘bounce’. If you’ve experienced it, you’ll know what I mean.
It’s the kind of bounce you would have felt at a Split Enz concert in Liverpool in the good old days, watching the lead singer, Tim Finn, doing vocal aerobatics, interspersed with a series of half-flying, aerial press-ups during the instrumental bits, each with a hand- and foot-clap mid-air, presumably just because he could.
I’d be surprised if his act includes that now, a few decades on. But the moment remains, and not just in my memory, I’ll be bound. I didn’t have a camera back then, but no matter. I don’t even have to shut my eyes to bring it back.
Some moments, out of the billions that make up an average lifetime, evade our normal processes of forgetting and forge themselves into long term memories with a physical presence in the mind.
If you’re a music lover too, it’s a minor miracle how many songs you have made part of yourself: snatches of tunes or lyrics that bubble back readily in response to a prompt, or as a reflection of your frame of mind.
In an uncertain world, thank heavens for music.