21 may, 1995

Concerts should be a team effort.

You can't just pay cash to have fun - you gotta sweat for it.

I was watching a P-Funk concert in Philly. The band was cranking their fourth hour of music, trying to rile the crowd. It was a clear equation - as long as the crowd was dancin' and funkin' it up, so would the band. Eventually, people were too tired, the momentum was too spent; the band gave up, and we all went home.
The concert had gone on for five hours. I had never seen any one group of musicians put out like that. During the concert itself, I had a balcony seat off the side of the stage, so I had an overview of the performance dynamic. P-Funk was constantly trying to engage the audience by goading, begging, pleading, funking, strutting, whatever they could do to get a response. The crowd was pleased, obviously wanted to be there, but...

Did it ever really click?

I often get this sense at the concerts I go to that everyone is waiting for the transcendent experience. They pay twenty bucks, they love the band, they expect to be lifted higher.

When I'm at a great concert, and it all comes together, the music, the fans, the motion, the atmosphere - the air, I feel like everyone in that room can change the world. It's rare as hell, but when it comes, that feeling doesn't leave my chest for days.

So what's keeping us from transcending every weekend? Joining our peers and shakin' our butts and feelin' free - and alive, like good music and youth and energy should.

I have seen the problem, and it is the booty. The booty folks - ain't enough of them shakin'. All that P-Funk evangelism, even Aerosmith sing it -

I don't care what you do
it's either dance, or fuck you.

Seriously - if you are at a concert where there's some music goin' down - you should be shakin' it. All music's got beat, and should be danced to - unless you like that white bread classical music intellectual everybody faces one direction absolute silence thang.

But young people going to concerts today are timid, it seems, holding their booties in check while they wait for the next song, to see if it's their favourite, and then it is, and they scream, and dance a little, and thirty seconds later they don't know what to do with themselves.

And I watch these bands get up there, and crank out the hits. The band knows the people like them, the crowd knows it likes the band - they're all gathered together in love, but they're holding back on consumation!

People is too self-conscious. They're at this concert, where they've paid to come and have a good time - expecting some sort of satisfaction guaranteed, so they're watching and waiting to see what comes of it.

It's that difference between watching it and feeling it - is the guy on stage shaking it for you, or are you shakin' it for yo'self? No performer can carry a concert by themselves - it's those shows where everyone is in it where the energy is lifted higher.

Concerts should be a team effort.

You can't just pay cash to have fun - you gotta sweat for it.

If you wanna go to a rock concert, and you don't wanna sweat, don't expect a good time.

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