The wonders of technology never cease to amaze me.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s I went through an (expensive) phase of tracking down and buying bootleg cassettes. It was a labour of love trying to source particular concerts I'd been to -- mainly U2 and occasionally Crowded House or Midnight Oil -- just so that I could add them to the collection knowing I had been in the audience on that particular night. The quality was always slightly dubious. More often than not the actual live music would be drowned out by the voices of the audience members singing out of tune or talking to each other -- and everything always sounded muddy or fuzzy, as if the event had been recorded on a hand-held tape recorder shoved under someone's jacket to thwart security. Oh, that's right, that's exactly how they'd been recorded!
Fast forward almost 20 years and now some bands sell CDs of their concerts -- recorded at the mixing desk so that everything is crystal clear and minus all the annoying audience chatter -- within minutes of them finishing their final encore. I kid you not.
Last night a trio of us was fortunate enough to see the newly reformed Crowded House play Wembley Arena. It was a superb gig with an incredible song list and a genuinely fun and friendly vibe. It was so good even the band didn't want to leave. Their encore was almost longer than the actual set! And after some 2 hours and 15 minutes on stage we were sorry when it all ended...
...but the best bit was that after we'd filed out of the venue and queued up with about six trillion other people in the freezing winter air, we were able to buy a CD of the actual gig we'd just attended! There was a CD-pressing plant on the forecourt of the venue churning out a limited 1,500 souvenirs for die-hard fans. I think this is fantastic. The idea that you can go home with a concert in your pocket just astounds me. How I wish this had been commonplace every time I saw Crowded House throughout my teens and twenties, what a collection I'd have now!