Last night I went to The Independent in San Francisco to see Dr. Dog play the second of two nights of sold out shows. The show was amazing - they hit the crowd hard with harmonized guitar and vocals and were really tight. Heck, they even brought out 20 pizzas and fed the crowd. But I digress - as great as the show was, that's not what I wanted to write about.
As I stood and looked across the crowd, I desperately fought the urge to take out my camera and capture some video. I have a bit of an over-capture and under-experience tendency. When I travel, my wife has to remind me to "take eye pictures" - that is to say, to really be there, feel it and paint a memory that could never by outdone by a photo or video.
When I looked around at people taking video on their phones and cameras, in my mind I could only flash forward to the moment they downloaded the video and realized that something was off. That somehow the audio was too crisp, the lighting too bright and the performance not as brilliant - nothing at all like it felt in the moment in the hot mass of swaying bodies. Anyone who has taken video of a night of Karaoke knows what I'm saying. Sometimes high definition can really work counter to high emotion.
So my commitment to music in 2011 (a mid-year resolution?) is to really be there. To capture the moments that matter most in a way that will always be as awesome as it was live. Because when you don't, you risk obliterating the memory of the entire night with a reality that was not nearly as perfect as it felt in the moment - and who wants that?