My writing hero Brenda Ueland says writing is not a performance, but a generosity. And so is the making of music, which you realize anytime you go to hear just about any bunch of musicians. To me they’re like saints the way they don’t seem to mind that at any given time only a third of the crowd is listening to them. The rest are doing the usual crazy human things, inspecting their nails, gossiping, daydreaming, etc, while up there behind their mikes the musicians are pouring out their souls. (In one of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut true-life tales he describes himself seated at a performance of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra when a couple of older ladies surprise everyone as the very loud music suddenly stops and in the pin-drop silence one is heard bellowing to the other, ““I FRY MINE IN BUTTER!)
I took some video Saturday night of the band called Six, motto ‘Classic Rock That Never Gets Old (Even if We Do’) and I would estimate that three-quarters of the time the majority of the audience wasn’t listening at all, good as they are. Here’s some 100 seconds of them singing “The Weight” by the Band, better known to many of us as the Take a Load Off song . I’d have been charmed by their performance even if I hadn’t been the cameramen but you’ll see what happens even to me some 80 seconds in. People are so infinitely distractible; how on DID those Medieval monks ever just sit there in one place and copy hundreds of years’ worth of classical manuscripts?