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Bands Not Actually Playing Live -- Your Thoughts

Posted by: Anton Djamoos (05/07/09)
You know that feeling after you've seen an exceptionally great live performance? Hours after leaving, you're still stunned, and you feel the need to tell anyone and everyone about that great band. What if that band wasn't actually playing live?

Believe it or not, there are many bands that play off of a track to ensure a solid live performance. Quite notably, at this year's Superbowl, Bruce Springsteen played to a track during the halftime performance. But this does not happen in just those high-profile multi-million dollar situations, as there are bands that this site covers that use pre-recorded music at house shows to ensure a quality live performance.

What are your thoughts on this? If you saw that exceptionally great live performance and later found out certain members of the band weren't actually playing, would that diminish your once-pristine memory of the show? Is it forgivable if a band that knows they're not the best live uses recordings to give their audience the best live show possible?
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 329
07:59 AM on 05/07/09
#2
xeightoh3xx
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Well, I'd be pretty mad about it. I don't go to shows to hear what I could hear on a CD. Live versions of songs usually sound different or the band adds something special to it. I don't know, the imperfections kind of make it cool. If I wanted to hear perfection live I would've just stayed home and listened to the CD.
07:59 AM on 05/07/09
#3
deadjean
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don't record what you can't play live...
08:00 AM on 05/07/09
#4
trainwreck89
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i think playing off a track completely devalues the live performance. there is a special energy about playing live that can't really be mimicked on recordings
08:01 AM on 05/07/09
#5
aoftbsten
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It makes me a little angry and sad. Angry because i paid to see them live, if I wanted to hear a record I would have just thrown the cd in my stereo and saved myself the time and money. Sad because their is something special about going to see a band you love perform live. If they're just up there acting it out, you lose that intensity that make shows great.

Plus miming an entire show can't be fun for the musician either, can it?
08:02 AM on 05/07/09
#6
popdisaster00
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I remember watching Metro Station do this on the Saves The Day tour. I knew something was fishy when I heard guitar yet neither of those dudes were strumming.
08:04 AM on 05/07/09
#7
morte
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Holy ignorance.
08:05 AM on 05/07/09
#8
sweetfootaction
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What's the point of seeing a band live if they're not actually playing live?
08:06 AM on 05/07/09
#9
StevevetS
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Totally against it.
08:08 AM on 05/07/09
RonStoppable
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Not a fan.
08:08 AM on 05/07/09
therookielot
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I think some bands uses it for certain parts on songs, and that's fine. I saw blessthefall last week, I don't like them and they sounded real good live. I don't know if it was delay or what, but the bassist's scream would still be going after he got away from the mic. I'm probably wrong though. I was pretty drunk.
08:09 AM on 05/07/09
Enoma Otenki
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tough call but i'm against it. i can see large bands filling an arena wanting some backing midi tracks to emulate little things in the recording but not even playing the guitars? sloppy musicianship at that point.
08:09 AM on 05/07/09
beautyofgrace
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Well, I'd be pretty mad about it. I don't go to shows to hear what I could hear on a CD. Live versions of songs usually sound different or the band adds something special to it. I don't know, the imperfections kind of make it cool. If I wanted to hear perfection live I would've just stayed home and listened to the CD.

i agree, the imperfections do make it kind of cool. i mean, if the reason they're using the pre-recorded tracks is because the band doesn't know their own music, that's obviously something to say about the band. even if the band doesn't sound the greatest live but are still putting 100% into it onstage, it makes up for it. i'd rather see a mediocre-sounding band with a live performance based on their energy than a band that uses backup tracks anyday. i'm usually too busy jamming out to care much about how the band sounds anyway, to be honest, but i always lose respect for bands that don't play live. what's the point?
08:11 AM on 05/07/09
mick2late
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I remember watching Metro Station do this on the Saves The Day tour. I knew something was fishy when I heard guitar yet neither of those dudes were strumming.
When I saw them the other week (rather, was forced to listen to them) there were so many sounds coming from the speakers yet no instruments playing them. The fact that they had two laptops on stage directly next to them with a guy sitting there didn't exactly help their cause.
08:12 AM on 05/07/09
TheBestBet
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I hate/very little respect when bands use prerecorded beats and effects in there set, but if a band I enjoyed weren't actually playing, then I would completely write the band off. I love the raw live setting in shows, esp when bands jam a song out a little bit where each time you hear it live its always different.
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