When all is said and done, playing live is the ultimate test to any album – or any band, for that matter. On this day and age you can have a great record but if you don’t play it live or if you suck when you do, you’re almost certainly doomed to oblivion. I supposed it’s always been like that, but the dwindling album sales and shorter attention span of the audiences made it even more crucial.
More important than the impact on the commercial success, it’s the impact on the band’s internal relationships and its efficiency as a whole that I find more interesting. I don’t think any band is fully “mature” until they’ve spent time together on the road, sharing vans, stages and hotel rooms. It’s what makes (or breaks) the chemistry between it’s elements, and it’s this process that in time allows each musician to finds its own voice and how to use it within the context of the band. As a result, songs tend to change as they’re played over and over again, sometimes gaining a completely different dimension than what they had on the record.
It’s not all fun and games, though… in fact, I’d say it’s probably the least glamorous part of the whole thing, at least for a band of our dimension. I’m sure when you have roadies and a full crew to take care of everything it must be different, but in our case a typical day with a show outside of our hometown would include: picking up the van early in the morning, loading all the gear, driving for hours until the venue, unloading, setting up, waiting for the sound guys to mic everything, sound-checking, rushing to have dinner, rushing back to play the show, packing and loading everything back into the van, driving to the hotel and only then, if there was still any energy left, going out for a drink to chill a bit. Sure, we got to travel a lot, but very seldom did we have time to get to know anything other than the concert venue and the hotel.
Eventually, if you do it long enough, it becomes just like any other job and it’s very easy to lose track of the immense privilege that it is to do something you love, get paid for it and touch people’s lives in the process.
This whole photographic series is my own personal reminder that it was real, it happened and it was one helluva ride!