"The Great Listening" Suite
III. When The Music Starts, We All Pay Up
When the music starts, we all pay up—
the audience with their hard-earned dollars,
the players with their hard-earned hours,
the Spirits with their miracles.
What the audience brings is the most valuable commodity,
more than a $ exchange
more than gracious hospitality
more than the right venue
more than a competent sound crew.
Yes, they bring adoration,
that fleeting brush of heat that surrounds
the ego like warm egg-nog.
Yes, they bring witnessing,
an act that can forever alter an artistic life.
Most importantly, they bring their Listening.
This is what every musician really craves,
deep down, in their
Heart of Hearts.
Forget about 'Heart of Hearts'!
Most musicians find an attentive audience
terrifying at first.
Like hosting an Afro-Haitian dance class in one's chest,
Or seeing olympian gremlins out the cockpit window
at one's first solo flight.
Gradually, panic surrenders to neutrality and
all the years are
finally paying off.
The players are speaking with authority
and hearing their group, and individual, song.
Real listening begins.
At last, the audience enters and brings their
Some eagerly, some reluctantly.
Most, sincerely believe they are having
a private experience.
Quantum Theory has long since proved that observation
changes the physical make-up of objects.
Waves become particles with a blink of an eye,
and Waves make Waves in music.
Our audience, too, believes that they are observing,
more like eavesdropping,
on a series of private conversations among musicians.
If they only knew how much their presence
amplified and catalyzed the musicians' listening,
they would demand to be paid!
All the sparks of controlled chaos and spontaneous perfection
loop and build as the audience becomes the
sonic "Fourth Wall."
What else would explain the electricity found in live recordings?
The quieter the music becomes,
the more that listening is drawn out,
the more it becomes a seduction, and less a demand.
We've been told that "Less Is More" really is code for "K.I.S.S."
(Keep It Simple, Stupid)
Let your mind wander back to your last fabulous meal that was
Recall its depth and simplicity, the way it still lingers in
your sense of how close your partner felt by mid-meal.
When music is sumptuously played, it gives that
aroma of space,
allowing the listener to create an elaborate fantasy
So many things get elicited when the ear
and mind ignite
From the most elusively erotic
to the curiously forgotten
to the fancies of our inner cinematographer
as the soundtracks of our lives.
When Spirits asks us to pay up, we eventually find
between the performers and the audience.
For it is then that the Spirits cheer
and place their bets...