The Red Hot Chili Peppers admitted to not performing live Sunday at the Super Bowl in New Jersey. Anthony Kiedis WAS singing (to a backing track of his own voice) but the band admitted to miming along to a track they had recorded specifically for the big half time show. People are outraged. Fans of the band are blaming the Super Bowl brass for “stripping” the band of their artistic right to perform live. Others are using this as an opportunity to attack the band on the grounds that they couldn’t have performed well enough to entertain the masses in the stadium and at home live anyway. Everybody is pointing a finger at everybody else like some sort of perverse Mexican Standoff. All the while -in the shadows- the entity responsible for the controversy goes unnoticed, unchecked and unchallenged: The Media.
The Media have trained the average music consumer into accepting a performance myth. The myth that a live performance should/can sound as sharp, pitch-perfect and as spot-on as the recorded performance they hear on the radio. Consumers have been told to demand their cake (recorded songs that are well written and performed) and eat it too (be able to enjoy them in an unreasonable live setting; like at a Super Bowl).
If the band were actually allowed to plug-in and play live, the performance you would have seen and heard on the couch in your living room Sunday would have very different; and it certainly wouldn’t have been the same spectacle. How much of Flea’s bass would have been drowned out by the sound of fireworks, explosions and general thrashing around? And how entertaining would have it been -really- to watch Kiedis tone it down a little in order to focus on hitting as many of the notes in “Give it Away” as possible? I say: not very.
The Media have done a masterful job over the last four or five decades training consumers to believe the unbelievable, and now that the curtain can no longer stay closed (thanks Internet!) John and Jane Doe don’t want to believe the truth.