Monday, May 18, 2009

A Tribute Too Far

I'll admit, I've never quite really gotten the "tribute band" concept, wherein some group of musicians gather together to recreate a dead band's live show, sometimes down to the stage design and period instruments.

Don't get me wrong. If The Musical Box was performing somewhere nearby, I'd go see them, but, really, if I want to listen to note perfect versions of Genesis tunes, I've got all the albums (including live ones), so why bother? I mean, even Beethoven's Ninth gets played in slightly different ways from orchestra to orchestra, why should "Firth of Fifth" be any different? But at least with a group like Genesis, you're dealing with a fairly set structure, musically speaking.

This one, I just don't get at all. Because the girlfriend and I saw Adiran Belew at Club Cafe a while back, I get regular emails from them about upcoming shows. On Thursday, they'll play host to Strange Design which, according to their website is known for:

[r]ecreating Phish shows in their entirety
I'm not particularly a Phish phan, but wasn't part of their appeal the fact that no two shows were the same? The constantly shifting setlists and extensive improvising made each performance unique, right? Doesn't recreating any single one of them seem pretty much pointless? Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it doesn't seem likely.

I appreciate the desire of folks to hear their favorite music played live, even if not by the original artists, I just don't get the slavery to "authentic" recreations. Wouldn't it be better to hear that music through new ears?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a HUGE Phish fan, and honestly, I just don't think I'd be into that. I think they're basing the concept off of Dark Star Orchestra - a band that has been recreating Grateful Dead shows for at least 20 years now. Dark Star is awesome (if you like that kind of music), but there's a huge difference. First, and the most obvious, you'll never be able to see the real Grateful Dead again because Jerry Garcia passed away in '95. Second, since they're recreating the original band's shows, the majority of the concerts took place anywhere from 20 to 40 years ago. There's a lot of new Dead fans who weren't alive to see these shows, and those who were can see DSO and relive their younger days. My only thought about Strange Design is that maybe they started doing this back in '04 when everyone thought Phish had broken up for good. But Phish is back creating original sets, and hopefully no one is dying soon. The only current positive I can see is that Phish reunion tix have been nearly impossible to get a hold of. For those not lucky enough to score this time around a Strange Design show might be the next best thing. However, I think that as the hype dies down, tickets for future Phish tours will be a much easier deal. So like you said, I don't really see the point.