On her recording Miles of Aisles, Joni Mitchell famously proclaimed, “That's one thing that's always, like, been a difference between, like, the performing arts, and being a painter, you know. A painter does a painting, and he paints it, and that's it, you know. He has the joy of creating it, it hangs on a wall, and somebody buys it, and maybe somebody buys it again, or maybe nobody buys it and it sits up in a loft somewhere until he dies. But he never, you know, nobody ever, nobody ever said to Van Gogh, 'Paint a Starry Night again, man!' You know? He painted it and that was it”.
Joni pretty much nailed it. When it comes to the Arts, some are more dynamic than others. Knowing when something is complete can be a tricky endeavor. Especially if it’ll have to be repeated.
Anyone who’s created something, from an essay to kids to stew, knows how hard it can be to decide when the work is done. In some cases, maybe it never is. Or, it is for a minute, then it’s not (like the dishes). Metrics of completion are often undefined or made up on the spot (Let’s just eat it!). And again, if it has to be repeated, maybe there is no point of completion, just ongoing tinkering.
When it comes to live music, there’s a thick fog around this subject. Songs are written, rehearsed, reflected on and tweaked before they’re thrown into the world. At some point, the beast must be released. But since the paint never dries on live music, evolution is inherent in the craft.
Musicians have to repeat their performances. In a live context, this brings a number of questions about how to orchestrate the endeavor. There are those who deliver live numbers like well-trained marching bands; each step aligned with a note, performances diligently rehearsed and the same show is reproduced every time. For some fans, this predictability matters. They want Starry Night every night.
But for others, the dynamic nature of live performances adds its own special sauce. These explorers welcome the intricacy of one gig over another; they want unique colors and brush strokes. The connoisseurs appreciate hearing a new intro riff, a slower version of that one song or when a vocalist forgets the lyrics and launchs into a dreamy solo instead. Those with untrained ears are still able to appreciate the experience, but seasoned fans revel in the subtleties inherent in these ever-changing reproductions.
The Lindell Band will be at the Mancos Brewing Company on July 6th releasing two full sets of music into the world starting at 6PM. It’s still unclear if the songs will be finished or not. Doesn’t matter really, come on out and decide for yourself. Looking forward to seeing you there!