Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Two Rooftop Concerts

I often talk about aesthetic quality in music and how it is not entirely subjective. You can usually see major differences in quality just by listening to things side by side. I just ran across this rooftop concert filmed by Jean-Luc Godard in 1968. Ladies and Gentlemen, Jefferson Airplane:

It doesn't get any better after that obscene, annoying and disrespectful introduction. And the camerawork! I'm still a little seasick. That was a bunch of amateurs. Let me be clear: the song was undistinguished sludge, lacking any interesting qualities in melody, harmony or rhythm; the drumming was dull and confused; the guitar-playing was dreary and sloppy; the singing--I don't think even they thought they could sing. Mind you, Grace Slick was pretty good-looking back then.

Here, filmed a year later in 1969, is how the professionals do it:

Everything, I mean everything, about this is many, many levels above Jeff-Air. The band is tight, the songs are good and very distinctive, the drumming is great, the guitar-playing is great, the singing is great. And, and, they are not there to be jerks and annoy everyone for five blocks in every direction. Professionals in the best sense of the word. Any questions?