The hot sun is beaming down on the face of the rhythm guitarist playing onstage in Mexico in 1999. On occasions he gazes up to the sun, he is slightly blinded by its glare and he is annoyed that he has left his sunglasses behind in the dressing room but happy he is no longer a plasterer from Manchester.
The congregation of fans sing in unison to the hits, even though the rhythm guitarist is feeling an overwhelming sense of joy and fulfillment with each chord, he cannot afford to show his emotions. That is not the rock and roll way, you must stay cool and not appear fazed by the occasion.
As music fans (and if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them), I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had the experience of hanging out with friends, and fellow music fans, in our childhood bedrooms, our college dorm rooms, or in our apartments, and having a drink or partaking in some other spirit lifting activity, while talking about music and playing songs we love to each other. The conversation usually goes something like, “Hey, man, you gotta hear this,” and, “Yeah, that’s great, but have you heard this?” as song after song gets played. Maybe in our brave new world of mp3s, iPods and the broadband tubes of the interweb, in which you can send an email to your friends with a link to a website or torrent where they can download the entire remastered Beatles catalogue – in both stereo and mono versions – in less time than it’ll take you to read this review, things are different, but I doubt it. If anything it’s a difference of degree, not of kind, and I still believe that the sheer and visceral joy elicited by the experience of sharing music with friends transcends even the cold 1s and 0s of our digital present.
An influential music industry figure has warned that Jonathan Ross‘ decision to leave the BBC will be a further blow to new bands seeking exposure in the British media. Ross, who has been a big supporter of UK acts on both his radio and television shows, announced today that he would not be renewing his contract with the BBC.
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