Guster – Do You Love Me
Way back in the early days of Facebook opening up to the general public, I somehow became Facebook friends with Brian Rosenworcel, the drummer of Guster. It’s not like I actually know him but I have always liked what he posts, whether it’s personal, like giving his sister a shout out for being the first woman nominated to head the FCC, or band related. This week he posted an article that Ryan Miller (lead singer/guitar) wrote for The Atlantic.
Ryan wrote about their concert this past summer out at Red Rocks in Colorado and how, after so many months of not being able to perform, the experience was so much more than just a concert. It’s a lovely and thoughtful piece about the power of live music and the peril it faced from the pandemic.
It is the view of a lifetime: a sea of 8,488 expectant faces, their collective gaze converging to a single point, which happens to be exactly where I’m standing. Behind me sit about 60 members of the Colorado Symphony; my bandmates are at my side. Our band, Guster, is headlining Red Rocks, a natural amphitheater carved into the side of a rock formation in Morrison, Colorado, and universally regarded as one of the world’s preeminent live-music venues. As we launch into our first song, “Do You Love Me,” I tamp down the last flares of stage fright, and remind myself to be present and take in the magnitude of this moment. The song ends and I step to the microphone: “Oh my God. For maybe the first time in my life, I’m at a loss for words.” Our fans roar, and the volume is overwhelming. I am nearly brought to tears. It is the unequivocal highlight of my professional career.
I got teary myself reading it and I encourage you to click on over and read the whole thing. I Performed a Career-Highlight Show. Then Delta Hit. 1
It reminded me of something another friend posted recently. She was venturing back to an indoor venue for the first time and she quoted Bob Lefsetz who wrote, “Number of bands I want to see live: Thousands. Number of bands I’m willing to die for: Zero.” I nodded and thought to myself, smart. Nicely put. But the more I thought about it the more I thought that’s not quite how I feel. Not that I can name bands I’d die for but the kind of concert experience Ryan Miller writes about, the kind of shows I’ve been to in my life where you really feel that energy between the band and the audience, it’s the spark that makes life worth living. For me it’s the height of human achievement. Fuck Elon Musk and his electric cars and penises in space, they have got nothing on the magic created when that concert venue lifts off.
1 In the article, Ryan talks about starting the show with the video I posted, and then later mentions another song, the video of that performance has been uploaded to YouTube. They streamed the show live as well but just this one song has been posted so far.
Thanks for these links. I viewed a livestream performance they did during lockdown without a live audience. Later they released a short documentary about that show and there was friction within the band about getting together in person. Not all band members really thought that was the right thing to do. For others, there was no music unless they were in person, together, sharing the experience. Guster is an example of so many, many performers that LOVE to perform and it is the live sharing that gives life to the music. This virus has not allowed that and even now it is not a simple choice or straightforward path.
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And I haven’t read Ryan’s piece yet but the video from the show made me cry. If I was there I would have had tears streaming down my face the whole time. Just look at their faces!
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I was crying too. Do carve a little time to read the article, it’s not that long. But you’ll cry again.
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