Saturday, September 21, 2019 13:33

The Importance Of An Artist To Their Audience

I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to talk about something that really struck me as powerful and moving when I witnessed it occurring…but here goes…

I spent last Halloween at a Richard Thompson concert, seeing him for probably the 7th time (one of my favorite artists and an amazing live performer). During this concert tour, one of his gimmicks was that he’d write the name of each of his albums on a little piece of paper and drop them in his hat. He’d select someone in the audience to pull out one of the pieces of paper from the hat and whichever album was picked, he’d would play three songs from that album.

There was a 50-something woman in the front row of the auditorium that he selected. She reached into his hat and chose “Hokey Pokey” (one of his earliest and least-heard albums). As he read off her choice, she reached her hand out towards him on the stage. I believe Richard thought she sought to shake his hand, so he extend his hand for a handshake. Instead of shaking his hand, she reached for the underside of his wrist and held her hand there for 2-3 seconds. Being 20 rows behind her, I didn’t see her face nor what she might she have said to him. However, her body language and posture suggested the reverence she likely felt for his music and its impact on her life…not the sort of connection that causes willing groupies to screw rock stars, but the really deep emotion that comes from having his art as her companion on whatever journeys she had gone through in her life.

I think Thompson was surprised that she did this and for the slightest moment, he was thrown off a bit. But, he realized pretty quickly the genuineness of the action (and that it wasn’t remotely creepy). I’m pretty sure such real reverence never gets old or stale to artists because ultimately, her action gives credence to his life’s work.

Thompson then continued with his kick-ass show…

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