Monday, December 10, 2007

Live or Memorex?

Megan McArdle says she's with Ogged, who thinks that music sounds better recorded than in concert. There's something to be said for the virtues of recorded music, and it's certainly true that much of the appeal of a live performance comes from sharing the experience with an audience and seeing performers who are really putting out to give a good show.

Most artists don't sound quite as good in concert as on CD, but they make up for it by putting on a good show. Some artists sound significantly worse in concert -- I saw Montgomery Gentry this summer, and I thought they were horrible. Alan Jackson darn near killed me with a saccharine overdose.

But there are some artists whose live show is so transcendently good that it blows their recorded music away. The best example to me is Brad Paisley -- before I saw him in concert, I considered him a middle-of-the-pack country guy with a few funny songs. After I saw him live, however -- well, all I can say is that man can play the guitar. He's not just a singer who plays a note or two and lets his band do the musical heavy lifting Nope, he's a guitar god in his won right, up there with guys like Clapton and Hendrix. Another example would be Martina McBride -- I knew she had a good voice, but she sounds even better live than on CD.