Watching a livestream broadcast of a concert is an interesting proposition for me, since I prefer my concerts actually live. David Rovics is undoubtedly at his best at a concert, so I joined the broadcast of his house concert expecting that (as I have found with his youtube broadsides and radio broadcasts) the abstract nature of the audience would detract from the show. I was pleased to discover that I was wrong.
Two aspects of the broadcast contributed to its success. The location, and the inclusion of a local audience.
There was an audience was in David’s living room, giving the concert an intimate atmosphere that went a long way to overcoming the sense of distance created by watching a live show via a camera. The camera was set up so we virtual participants “joined” the audience, and David could address both simultaneously. There was a message board that David (and all of us online) could see and respond to, so we were included in that unique rapport with the audience that he always builds with a live show.
There were also some special moments experienced just by the virtual audience. David has written songs about the grandparents of a friend of his in Hamburg, and he played both of them. That granddaughter was watching the show from Denmark, and responded with appreciative comments on the message board. It was interactions like this which took the virtual concert from “nearly as good as live” to having a unique value of its own, one impossible to attain with an actual live audience.
The interaction between global and local are a unique feature of today’s technology, and artists are often to be found there, experimenting with the tech and the show. This particular fusion of live and virtual worked very well, and I look forward to joining more concerts like this one, either (and this is a change!) virtually- or really.