Live Musical Performance Manifesto: THE FUTURE

The future of the live musical performance video seems to be at a stand still. Whereas the first documents of live musical performance were less about videography and more about supplying an accompanying visual of the performer to the music, the genre has evolved into one highly driven by visuals. However, the popularity of live musical performance viral videos has preserved the classic interpretation of the genre: no frills, just a musician and his instrument on film. The genre back then, and still today, has the purpose of highlighting the uniqueness of the musician in action and its affect on people.

So where does the genre go from here? Today, both the highly produced and stripped down live musical performance are prominent in the genre. As far as I can see, there are no major foreseeable changes in the live musical performance. Websites like Pitchfork and La Blogotheque have already made their mark on the genre by creating the 3D live musical performance (also previously done by Michael Jackson with Captain EO, but Pitchfork has been making easily distributable 3D videos for the web + I would argue that Captain EO wasn’t exactly live), the interview/live performance, and the improvised live musical performance, but they are minor stylistic flares that do not detract from the original intent of the live musical performance. No matter what, the videos are intended to validate the performer as a musician, and to emphasize the qualities that make the musician endearing to his/her fans. In 50 years, the technology may change, and the presentation format may be different, but live musical performance videos will still maintain this approach, and the person strumming his guitar in front of his 3D webcam will still be as relevant as the musical superstar and his million dollar concert film.

As for my preferred future for the genre, I hope that they revert back to The Lawrence Welk Show-type performances of the early 60’s. I feel like the one thing the genre is missing today is an accompanying skit with the live performance—what I call the live music video. Sure, there are singer/dancers with routines that are highly influenced from these performances, but it doesn’t match the same pomp and stage presence that the old performances had. Although most videos made in this way were exceptionally cheesy, I feel that a revisit to the format after 50+ years of cultural evolution could be fascinating.

Honestly, I am pretty bored with the current format, but that’s probably because watching a concert at home, where you aren’t surrounded by happy and sweaty young people, is kind of depressing anyways. In the future, I’m sure nothing will change. No matter how hard the genre tries to capture this feeling, nothing beats the feeling of actually being there.


The Francis Ford Coppola directed Captain EO starring Michael Jackson. What was wrong with people in the late 80’s?? Why was everyone obsessed with puppets?? Amazing dance number though.

Pitchfork presents “Primitive 3D” by Deerhunter in 3D

Pitchfork presents “The Selector: Riff Raff,” don’t do drugs

Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz, “Girl From Ipanema” live: great example of the live music video, made especially to be captured on video!

OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” Music Video, not a live musical performance but it has the right idea: POMP!