Saturday, October 17, 2009
regina spektor and the consequence of sounds
our seats were much better than i was afraid of--i mean we were in the center orchestra section and could see her clearly. and yet, it was impossible not to watch the huge jumbo trons. i don't attend huge shows very often, so i have no idea when the concert world shifted. back in the day, yes we had the jumbo trons so you could see the artist from far off, but you still watched the stage. but this show, and i imagine it can't possibly be unusual, the show was jumbo tron-centric.
here we are actually watching the event live-and in good seats- but instead of watching the stage you're drawn to the giant screens and the facial close ups. it really changes the production of a stage show. the lighting and pyrotechnics, which can make a show "wow," become secondary to the camera and live editing. in the extreme close up you can't see the stage lighting , so really there's not much point.
i wonder why this is? what's the difference between, say, dave matthews a million year ago and regina this week? i didn't watch dave through the screen, i watched the stage. but even consciously paying attention to the stage, i was half watching the screen, enough so that i was totally aware of how advanced and dynamic live editing has become. --that is, the cameramen/producer did a great job cutting and mixing shots as it happened.
and to get super nerdy on you, most media is/has shifted towards the extreme closeup artistically. that is, more directors and editors of video--music video, television, ads, etc--use extreme close up camera shots than ever before. this isn't random, it is a direct result of the "ipod decade"-- small screens make up a huge percentage of our visual consumption today. ipods, phones, computer screens, handheld games, car tvs, portable dvd players-- it never stops. these screens are tiny. tiny screens don't like broad, expansive shots. they like faces.
it becomes a loop. the technology forced us to create tighter. then we crave tighter. now we see a resurgence of 3D media, putting us a foot closer to players--like you're standing just inside the door. so when we're actually a part of the live action--but one of hundreds, it doesn't feel close enough. you watch the live music video and its cross cuts that capture regina's smile, that glint of conspiracy--you are with me-- instead of watching the live action that is too far away to imagine you're in the inner circle.
that being said, there was one awesome moment when they focused the lights on a huge disco ball, partly hidden behind instruments. the ball reflected a galaxy of stars across not only the stage, but the theatre as well--quite a feat in the cavernous radio city.
well, whatever the truth of it is, i fully admit to being a convert. and on the other hand, maybe it partly regina herself that incites this reaction. her music is poetry and piano and -on this occasion- some strings. intimate. her and me. and she did encore with Us just for me. obviously.