How often do you listen to live music?

I feel that the constant tuning of our ears to a live musical event, no matter what kind of music ( except perhaps to heavy metal at close quarters for health reasons) is essential for an audiophile to rightly assess his and other systems. I myself try to go to a concert at least three to four times a month. How about my fellow audiophiles out there? And especially how about our panel of experts? Albert, Sean et al ??
Hello Detlof! At least twice a week, as I sing in a church choir and we have a rehearsal and performance every week, and I listen to our organist's postlude. As far as attending concerts and other musical events, I attend at least two or three a month, sometimes more. NYC area is a great one for musical offerings.
We go to about four live classical concerts per month; Symphony, Opera, chamber and ballet.
Yes, you are indeed fortunate. I fantasize often about a vacation in NYC just going to concerts , however steering free of Lyrics and Mr. Singer's. They would probably not even let me in. Zurich is not too bad. Our opera has become very good in the last ten years and there are the Luzern and Gstaad as well as the Zurich festivals in summer..and its not far to Munich,Salzburg and Milano and even Vienna is only about 7 hours by car if you beat the speedlimit on the Austrian autobahns!
At least once a week

I live in New Orleans where there is always a steady supply of great music. Alot of it is amplified, but the occasional jazz group unmic'd in a local record store does me every time. I also play guitar so I always have an acoustic as a reference
Not often enough, alas! Lately, twice a month for classical and once for jazz, blues etc. Offerings and also office hours are a set-back. I cannot just hit a concert at short notice: must plan my schedule well in advance.

I miss having the opportunity to pop into the local venue (or church) to listen to an small ensemble play...

...hence the stereo!!!


I suscribe to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra--which has really gotten to be fantastic with the new director. Outside of that--probably 6 other live events per year. Mostly jazz (went to the New Orleans Jazz Fest--must have seen at least 20 different groups--Audiotomb was probably there) and every now and then get to the opera--Vienna is the best--hope to make it there in 2002 again.
abstract 7

I've been catching the Jazzfest since 86
A wonderful two weekends of music and great music in all the clubs those weeks. It's getting a little too big these days with the big headlining acts, but still a great time, and the food -
Detloff, I find it funny that it would take each of us about the same amount of time to get to Vienna to hear the VPO, although it would cost you a little less! Actually, I'm going to be there next June for a private concert in a nearby castle, so I'll probably exceed my 3/month quota while out there. Abstract7, I heard your orchestra under Maestro Zinmann, if it's even better now I've got to take the 3-hour drive down I-95 to attend a concert or two!
Between four and six times per month.
Detlof, the opening sentence of your post is IMO one of the most important, if not the most important consideration for an audiophile who is truly serious about becoming a more astute and sophisticated listener. Well said; I particularly appreciated your "no matter what kind of music" comment. Bravo! Many audiophiles try to ignore this reality, but there is no getting around this fact.

I have ranted and raved about this issue several times in previous threads so I know that this is a sensitive issue for some. So, to set the record straight, I will also say that this reality does not imply that any given audiophile, who for whatever reason can't or won't attend live performances, can not be a good, critical, or appreciative listener. Or that a person who does, is necessarily one of extraordinary listening ability. It does mean that without this kind of exposure, a listener (audiophile) can not achieve the highest level of ability to discern the finest and most subtle nuances that music is full of, or to be a good judge of what "accuracy" in sound reproduction really is.

I listen to live music, on average, at least twenty hours a week; not counting personal practice time (about that much over again). I am a professional musician.

Check out "The Fifth Element" by John Marks, in the current (September) issue of Stereophile. One of the finest pieces that I have ever seen in that mag. Happy listening and thank you for bringing up this subject again.
detlof: i average maybe 3 concerts/performances per month. tho i'm about your age, most of the concerts i attend are in the rock genre. the symphonic concert hall in denver is, unfortunately, modeled after berlin's auditorium-in-the-round. the acoustics drive me nuts, which is my excuse for abstaining from most classical performances. i do, BTW, sing in the shower most every day. does that count? -kelly
Back when i was young ... : )

I used to see live performances sometimes 3 - 5 times a week. A lot of times, i'd end up working the sound board even though i showed up as a "civilian". Of course, this depended on who was playing, where it was at, etc... In some ways, this might have been part of the reason why i lost interest in going out as often as i used to. It became too much like "work" instead of "relaxing". That and "getting old" : (

Nowadays, i'm lucky if i make it out once or twice a month. Quite honestly, i was supposed to go to a show tonight but didn't make it out of work until too late. Kind of a bummer, but the weather isn't being very cooperative either.

With the background that i have, i tend to "analyze" a lot of various aspects of the performance i.e. the job that the sound man is doing, how the sound system is set up, the equipment that the bands are using, etc... While it is RARE that i am able just to kick back and enjoy a show, i think that is because many performers are NOT geared towards performing live. Compared to their studio efforts, a LOT of live performances are quite lacking in feeling and emotion. Road burn-out i guess....

There are a few shows that i've seen that really stand out though. One local band consistently "kicked" every time that i've seen them. One of those bands that could take a 3 - 5 minute tune and turn it into a 12 - 15 minute "groove" or "jam session" without things ever getting stale, predictable or dry. Unfortunately, they broke up due to "ego & money problems" just after getting signed.

Since my girlfriend doesn't really dig the "high volume" shows all that much, we've been meaning to start hitting the local Blues and Jazz clubs but just haven't gotten around to it. Being in the Chicago area, we should have PLENTY to choose from. I'll have to check into this tomorrow ( have the day off ) and maybe we'll go see some "shuckin' and jivin" on Saturday night. I'm also interested in finding out about some classical performances, but don't know exactly what i'd like to see / hear. Sean
WOW, thanks so far for all your responses. A special bow to Frogman for his understanding of my intentions and for his kind words.
I see how rich,alive and vibrant the musical culture in all its ramifications and tongues seems to be in your country, and I envy you for it. I haven't had the chance to listen to a really GOOD Jazz or Blues live offering for quite a time now and I'm showing symptoms...
Abstract, we had Zinman here in Zurich and he knocked our decrepid philharmonics back into shape. They needed it. You're lucky to have him in Baltimore.
Kelly, well singing in the shower....I suppose its a case of " in dubio pro reo " and we can let it pass. Its live after all, no?
Sugarbrie, just curious..what kind of music? Probably all sorts, I imagine.
Sean, you gave me the answer, why I found many live performances of studio artists a disapointment. Studio work is indeed so very different. Never had thought of that.
About classical music, drop me a line, if you like, with your musical preferences. Perhaps I could be of some help. Ater all, you have the CSO right on your doorstep and I suppose its still an outstanding orchestra.
There is an old saying in German, probably originating from the midst 19th century. It says " Amerika Du hast es besser", meaning sort of "live is better in the States". As far as music goes, this seems to be true...or maybe I'm suffering from a case of the grass being always greener on the other side.
Hope more posts are coming. I am happy to be amongst audiophiles, who also love music! A fact, which you cannot necessarily just take for granted.
Cheers and regards,
I used to attend a LOT of live events, pretty much exclusively rock of various forms. Plenty of business travel and three kids put a damper on attending as many concerts as I'd like to but I do go when I can. The ticket prices and lacklustre effort put out by some bands are deplorable. Case in point: I saw the much anticipated (and hyped) U2 show a few months back. No edge (forgive me, no pun intended), no creativity, no improv, no...well, they went through the motions. Depeche Mode, same disappointing effort. There's just too much of this kind of money-grab going on in the rock world. There are several bands I never miss and even try to find out where they're playing to try to match up my travel plans with their tour. The Tragically Hip. Ladies and gents, take a flier and catch this Canadian band when they're in your neck of the woods next. Same goes for Blue Rodeo if yer into country-rock. John Mellencamp and Roger Waters blew me away, incredible shows. Every now and then I'll hear of a good local band doing the bar scene and check-em out, but more often than not they play mostly covers so it gets old in a hurry. Enough about rock...fortunately there's an active blues and jazz scene here in Montreal and plenty to pick from. Small venues, good honest musicians plying their trade. One of the great paradox's in life, when you're younger you have all kinds of leisure time, when you get a little older you have the cash and very little time to enjoy it. Long live LP's to fill in the gap. Jeff
Minneapolis is a great city for the arts. I try to get to a classical event monthly and with the blues/jazz venues second only to Chicago I find alot of choices. We try to watch for Princes late night events at his studio just ten minutes away. He often jambs with national artists recording there. New groups are always a part of life in Mpls too, so I try and catch them too.
Fact is, I prefere my stereo most of the time. The accoustics are better, I get tenth row middle at all the venues (something I cann't achieve in real life) and I control how loud it is. The biggest reason I enjoy my stereo is Miles, Duke, Coltrane, Hendrix, Duane... are dead, so there concerts are not very good lately.
Yes it's nice to here live and keep your ears tuned, but for my money, my stereo is always a great performance.
J-D good to see you again, in this neck of the virtual woods!
Same here J-D....and thanks Jeff, seems to be the same all over. I got goosepimples however as I read your thoughts about "honest" Jazz- and Bluesmusicians and what bliss, hearing THE Prince jamming. WOW. And as the adrenaline flowed, I thought again: " Amerika, Du hast es besser "!
A brief follow-up on the BSO. I have only lived here for about 2 1/2 years. I have not been to a "Zinman" concert, but everyone here in Baltimore that attends the symphony regularly (including a neighbor who is in the symphony) agrees that Temirkanov has stepped it up a notch. I think sometimes it's just getting a new director that puts everyone on their toes to perform their best--at any rate the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has really impressed me. The Lang Lang performance of Grieg's Piano Concerto is probably the best concert I've ever seen.
Abstract7, yes, I remembered your prior posts about Temirkanov; I thought they were terrific when I heard them with Zinman, so I'd love to hear an orchestra that sounds better than that! Here in NJ we're looking for a successor to Zdenek Macaal, hope we're as successful as the BSO.
I am a Baltimore Symphony subscriber also. I drive up from Southern Maryland (70 miles). Well worth the trip. I have a friend who also comes down from Rhode Island six time a year to hear Temirkanov conduct.

I also sing with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. We will be performing with Peter Schickele (P.D.Q. Bach) in March. Last March we performed with Dave Brubeck.

I sit in awed silence!
Well not so silent on second thoughts, as to voice complete agreement with Frogman's words, that audiophiles who orient themselves entirely on the sound of systems, can have ears equally well trained and honed as avid concertgoers. But all the same, and hence my starting of this thread, there is so much talk here on Audiogon of what is "better" and what is not. The question however of better in REGARD TO WHAT is often left open and I am curious to know where my fellow audiophiles take their benchmarks from. Is it the most impressive systems they have heard, which have grafted themselves in their aural memories, or is it rather the mnestic impact of a myriad of exposures to all sorts of live music which they try to emulate in their homes? I suppose, for the most of us, it is an amalgam of both, actually difficult to differentiate apart in dayly practice.