A few years back, or maybe even a decade or so back, there was an advertising slogan by the Memorex Company that asked consumers to decide whether it was live, or Memorex.
The implication being that the quality of recorded material using the company’s products was so good as to render the consumer unable to determine whether or not it was a recording or a live performance that was being listened to.
This slogan popped into my head last week when I had the opportunity to attend a live streaming of the recording of one of my favorite radio shows, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” I had attended a taping of the show before but this one was part of a live streaming event to movie theaters across the world. As I had enjoyed my previous chance to watch the show being made I jumped at the chance to take part again.
Early on in the broadcast the host made a joke about the people tuned in to watch the live recording of the show being foolish for paying to see something that they could hear for free a few days later.
While this is technically true there is so much more that can be experienced during a live broadcast. You can see behind the curtain and see how the sausage is made so to speak.
And yes, I still tuned in Saturday morning to hear the differences in the recording compared to what I had seen a few nights earlier. There were subtle changes that had I not been there for the live portion I would have missed altogether.
The same is true for most anything in life. With very few exceptions it is better to experience things live.
I would much rather sit on a beach and hear the waves and feel the wind of my face than to experience the same beach on television.
Even the best surround sound system cannot replicate the sounds of the shore. And of course there is no way to replicate the feel of the wind and the smells of the beach from the comfort of one’s own home regardless of how high one cranks up the fan or how much suntan lotion they apply. And those air fresheners that promise to smell like the sea, they all fall short in capturing the true smells of the shore.
Of course during seaweed season in Galveston it might be best to experience from afar as the shore line smells anything but intoxicating but like I said there are always exceptions.
The same goes for sporting events. Being live at the venue is simply better.
While television can provide certain angles that might not be available from every seat at a ballpark or stadium, it cannot replicate the in person experience. Even though I wish there was a mute feature for some of the annoying fans that seem to gravitate towards me I would not trade the in person ballpark experience for a diet of televised games alone.
Of course, televised games serve a good purpose so I don’t want to come across as being anti-televised sports. When I am unable to attend a game, or my team is playing in a stadium on the road, I enjoy having the game on as background noise as I go about my nightly routines.
But were money no object, you can rest assured I would attend every game in person as opposed to watching it on television.
A few years back Tivo and other digital recorders popped up to allow people to record live broadcasts and view them at a later time of their choosing that was more suitable. To this day I do not own a DVR, nor do I ever plan to have one. It is the same reason that I do not watch tape delayed Olympic coverage, if something is going on live I want to see it as it is happening and not wait.
It also seems impractical in this day and age that I could avoid spoilers about the outcomes of games if I were to try to watch them at a later time.
Music is another area that is simply better live. I have followed Green Day since college and have all of their albums, including some of their live albums from concerts in Japan and England.
Despite listening to these songs countless times, it was not until I saw them live and in person that I truly could appreciate their music. To this day that is one of the best concerts I have attended and provided a frame of reference and a week-long ringing in my ears that I would not have had without the in person look.
As a reporter my job is to attend the events and report back the experience so that readers can get the feeling of being there. Using words and images the best writers can put the reader right in the middle of the action. There are various techniques and writing styles employed by journalists but they all center on informing the reader and making them feel like they are there experiencing the event.
I have been very fortunate in my career to be in the middle of a lot of action that were it not for being a journalist I would not have experienced. But for those non journalists out there I say, as Ferris Bueller would say “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
So get out there and experience as much as you can live and you will see that with all due respect to Memorex a recorded and taped delayed life just can’t compete with one that heightens all of the senses.
And if you ever get the chance to see Green Day in concert by all means do it, just don’t forget the ear plugs.
Now if you’ll excuse me it is time to get out from in front of the computer screen and see what live event I can find next.
Copyright 2013 R Anderson