On the Back-Streets of Fenway Park…

16 Aug

We sat on the curb outside Fenway Park; cigar smoke and corn-dog aromas drifting our way.  We had our own thang going on – and it didn’t cost a dime.

So why are people willing to pay $200 and upwards to stand behind a pillar in a 35,000 capacity baseball stadium to watch a blurry, pixelated screen of the old rocker, Bruce Springsteen?  What adds up to the overall experience and what kick do we get out of being in the crowd, versus sitting on the curb or simply playing out a live record in the comfort of our own living room?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and propose that audio experiences can be just as much – if not more – fulfilling.  For a start, there’s nothing to distract you from the music itself.  No glitzy light show.  No mini-skirted backing vocalists.  No giant screens.  No annoying women (and men) swaying their lighters (and bingo wings) in time to the rhythm.  No warm beer or mustard dribbling down your back.

Apparently when one sense is muted, other senses become hyper-accentuated.  Blind people have a greater sense of sound and touch – “Many studies have shown that the brains of blind people reorganise to adapt to their condition, and the areas used for vision take on new roles.” (Taken from http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/05/25/the-brain-on-sonar-%E2%80%93-how-blind-people-find-their-way-around-with-echoes/).  “Blind people have more sensitive hearing, and are more finely attuned to echoes.”

Then, there’s the element of imagination.  Ever listened to a favourite radio show for years; conjuring up a favourable image of the husky voice on the other end of the airwaves?  Or the lady at the National Grid Energy Hotline?  Wow – she called me honey – we speak every month without fail – she must be the one, she thinks I’m special.  Only to have your lusty membrane burst, the second you lay eyes on the physical embodiment of the vocal chords?

So for delusion’s sake – let’s face it – Bruce ain’t getting any younger; the years and the beers (and possibly the tears) haven’t done him any favours.  But the voice will always be the voice – and as long as you’re willing to imagine and transport yourself to your own gig in neuron-kingdom – all you need is a pair of headphones and your own private shindig.

Crowd participation is for muppets, anyway.  Dancing in the back-streets with rats, scalpers and puddles of urine is clearly where it’s at.


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