Testing a theory

This Wednesday, Wordsmith, Drummer, Ikuni and I will see U2 perform in St. Louis. It’s hard to believe it’s finally here. A woman could have conceived and experienced morning sickness, backaches, heartburn and a twenty hour labor and delivery since we bought our tickets last March. Needless to say, we’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.

While there, though, not only will I be screaming, singing along and generally making a fool of myself, I will also be taking note of the audience. The reason? I want to test my theory about American and Japanese concert goers.

Why do I even have a theory about American and Japanese concert goers? Well, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know that my daughter, Ikuni, is uber-obsessed with Japanese music. Her passion has been contagious, and I’ve likewise been reduced to a puddle of goo over a certain pint-sized j-rocker.

This interest has led to the viewing of countless music videos, including live concert footage, which in turn has led to my theory: American and Japanese audiences are different and maybe those differences say something about our underlying belief systems–Western individualism/self-consciousness on the one hand, Eastern unity-of-all-things/self-is-a-delusion on the other.

Ikuni first pointed out the dissimilarities when we watched L’Arc~en~ciel’s Baltimore concert DVD, which includes one song performed in Tokyo.

The Baltimore audience members varied in their responses. Those up close were really into it. They lifted their arms, jumped up and down. They were totally engaged. But, by the time you got to the last row, most people just stood there.

I’ve seen this same thing at other US concerts, especially in larger venues. It’s like the farther removed fans are, the more hesitant they seem to join in.

The Tokyo audience, though, was not like that. There was total participation, from the fan in the front row to the one who was a mile away. They moved as one organic unit.

Watch this video of L’Arc~en~ciel performing the song, Trick, in Japan. Now, I know it will be hard to look past the band. I mean, it’s practically impossible to take your eyes off Tetsu in that outrageous lime green outfit (for Ikuni and Miki, “Ith a thog”). But, notice the crowd’s widespread participation.

So, I’ll be observing the St. Louis attendees Wednesday night. And, hey, maybe they’ll prove me wrong. ‘Cause I know of one middle-aged woman who will be going unselfconsciously crazy in the nosebleed section.


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