Tonight A&E presented a live concert with David Bowie, with call-in requests. I was immediately struck by the similarity to some recent blogger blather. Prominent blog pundits have been raving recently about an incident that occurred at a conference. One of the panelists was surfing the web and discovered someone was writing continuous comments on his live presentation, and commented about it in that same presentation. The bloggers gushed about how the barrier between the audience and the presenter was broken. These self-important pundits declared this a watershed event, one declared it was the end of journalism as we knew it. I hear this sort of ridiculous crap every day.
Tonight as I was watching the live Bowie concert, an interesting thing happened. One of the call-in requests came via cel phone from the audience. Bowie discovered the caller, and invited him onstage, interacting with him both by phone and in person.
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What struck me most about this incident was that Bowie pulled the guy right out of the audience and brought him right on stage. This is in stark contrast to the blog conference panelist who imagined himself to be interacting directly with his audience, while he was really many layers of abstraction from that person who was sitting right in the audience. It’s the difference between reality and illusion. The blog pundits are fooling themselves.
On a different note, I was surprised at Bowie’s new band. He dumped the cute backup singers/percussionists and replaced them with a woman with a deep voice. Sometimes you can’t tell when it’s her singing and when it’s Bowie. And his new guitarists suck. But boy do they have some nice instruments. I saw a guitar just like my college roommate had, an 1950s Les Paul SG with triple pickups and a Bigsby. Plus a nice vintage Gibson Explorer. Either of those guitars would sell for well over $20,000. Too bad these rare instruments are wasted, the band doesn’t have synergy. The Bowie at the Beeb concert from 2000 was much better.