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From: “Smith, Nick”
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:50:48 +0000

Bob, you may be right, but from both library work and concert series operation, I’ve learned that a video is the simplest substitute for seeing a performer live in performance. Just an audio recording can be misleading.

An old acquaintance, Bob Stane, who has produced music and spoken word performances for over fifty years, always emphasizes that the job of a performer is to entertain the audience that’s actually in front of them. A technically perfect performance that leaves the audience not entertained is, in fact, a failure. I think he’s right.

Back when I was first learning how to tell a story, I attended a couple of performances by one particular teller who had also recorded a collection of his stories. I quickly realized that his performance on stage was exactly like his studio recording, including every little nuance. As a result, his performance was actually very dry, and had no life to it. There was no reason to ever hear one of his stories a second time. By comparison, I also attended performances by another performer who, while very theatrical, let his performances breathe just a bit, and interacted just a tad with his audience. The difference was very interesting, and it was the second one that I hired for events a few years later.

It’s the same way with musicians. The board of the concert series I work with has sometimes commented that they’ve seen a performer who is technically very good, but has so little connection with the audience that they don’t want to put that performer on stage.

–Nick Smith

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