Saturday, June 1, 2013

Same music - different vibes in US & DE

Two things had to happen before TheEditor realized something hiding in plain sight.

The first was the session of Bob Weir and Sammy Hagar mentioned in our Loose Lucy post, the second a long article in German online Die Zeit about Emmylou Harris and Eric Clapton doing their respective shows at two different locations in Berlin, Germany.

The article's author made the separation of the audiences into two distinct, non-overlapping groups a mainstay of the write-up, even incorporating it into the headline.

TheEditor protested to himself: it's not that simple, and the Weir Hagar collaboration illustrates it perfectly.

We appreciate the cross cultural influence and value of music, and there are more  examples for this than there are notes ever played. There are unexpected hotspots, where a musician is loved in one country and people at home don't understand why -- look at David Hasselhoff's success in Germany, for instance.

All of this works despite language barriers, and for this you can take Elvis Presley's status in 1960s Germany or rap a few decades later.

But bringing musicians of different genres together seems to work best in the U.S.

We think there are two reasons for this, one being a more fluid understanding of popular music in the U.S.

The other, more boring but probably more important aspect being one of logistics and tour planning.

Famous American acts going on a tour of Europe or a World tour have a lot of planning and logistics to deal with, often with different event managers.
European shows, to them, are fairly rare, too, so the chances are low that a buddy from another genre pops up unannounced during your show in the same city and you can invite him or her on the stage.

Add to this that the fans in a foreign country will "self select". If you know, Emmylou will be here every five years or so, you will try harder to see her then when you know you can catch her every six months or so.

Put these elements together, and you have a good chance to be correct when you note two very distinct audiences, as the Zeit music reviewer reported.

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