Posted by Orinoco, 2012-02-11 17:19 GMT
One of my friends doesn't like live music. He says that the acoustics of concert venues & the screaming of the crowd ruins the music. To be honest I think he's right. But I don't go to big concerts to enjoy the music so much as to celebrate it.
It's a similar thing with juggling, people's bobbing heads obscure your view & you're stuck with all the mistakes that can't be edited out. But even with the increasing onset of PSF seeing a live performance still has that something extra. I often get excited about seeing a performer who I have already been amazed by online & I look forward to the chance to applaud them in person.
This post will be a self indulgent list of a few of my favourite live performances which have knocked spots off of sitting in front of my pooter.
Warning, instances of ridiculous flowery language will follow
Best ball juggling act
Ben Jennings on the renegade stage at the BJC in Nottingham 1997 (the one with Jay Gilligan running five clubs in the background).
This was my first juggling festival. I had been juggling for two & a half years & had already fallen in love with technical three ball juggling by this point. I was also mistakenly thinking I was pretty good, in that I could do hundreds of different tricks. I could even do a lot of the stuff that Ben was performing, but everything he did was better than the way I did it. Prior to this act I treated my progression in juggling almost like a checklist in that I 'collected' tricks. This act showed me that juggling could be beautiful as opposed to being a neat party trick.
Best club juggling act
Luke Wilson at Crawley Circus Festival 2006.
I think it would be a struggle to find someone who hasn't seen Luke's solo club routine. This was the fourth time I had seen it & I didn't spot any noticeable changes since my first time. This is one of those acts that doesn't change much because it can't get any better. The skill level is very high but what sets this act apart from everything else for me is the exceptionally high standard of presentation. The act is just so incredibly polished.
But what made this performance more special than the others? I'd recently come back from the EJC in Ireland where we saw Luke perform a different show which contained a lot of very geeky & experimental stuff. I had been raving about Luke to my girlfriend at the time, & while she 'got' his show & understood that it was difficult & very clever, I think she was underwhelmed & certainly didn't see why I was such a fan.
Crawley is also a very special festival for TWJC. I spend a lot of time badgering our members into attending, & of course one of my main points is that it is always a great show. During the months leading up to the festival I was zealously telling our newbies how fantastic it was going to be. That year a lot of our away team had either never been or only been to one or two festivals before.
It was a great show & Luke's finale was awesome. After the show our newbies were as wide eyed & excited as I first was. To be able to share that with my friends was very special.
Best diabolo act
William Wei-Lang Ling at the BJC in Nottingham 2007.
Of all the things I am jaded about diabolo has been the worst hit. For years the diabolo scene has been over saturated with high level diaboloists that all have a similar style. William blew everyone away by going nuclear on stage. The release of energy was astounding.
Some standing ovations are like, "hmm, other people are standing... yeah I'm going to stand too" but this one everyone jumped to their feet en masse.
(prior to this my favourite diabolo act was Barnesy's popcorn routine performed on the Renegade stage at BJC2K!)
Best aerial act
I write as one of the survivors who witnessed Alban Elved. I have sat through many dull generic aerial acts in my time. It was many years before I saw a decent aerial act aside from the flying trapeze outside of a traditional circus.
I suspect I won't be the only one who loved Ockham's Razor when they performed at Crawley in 2007. They used an original apparatus set up & presented a wonderful piece of theatre which was at different times funny & beautiful. I was mesmerised throughout.
I later caught one of their shows in Brighton, it was another great example of their style. When they took their bows I remember feeling disappointed that it was only 20 minutes long, only to work out later that we had been in there for over an hour.
Catching Kris Kremo at the EJC in 2006 was fantastic. I'd seen many clips online of Kris' performances but this was my first chance to catch a complete routine. His performance in between tricks was just as good as his juggling. I can't think of a single modern performer who matches his presence, class, dignity or charisma on stage. Again this is another act that has stayed roughly the same for years because any change would be for the worse.
Pink in concert at Brighton 2002 almost got the top slot for best aerial act. Yes, the popstar. She did a really good silks routine but on a cargo net which matched many a routine I've seen in a traditional circus & in public shows. Except she did it while belting out one of her songs at the same time without dropping a note or sounding out of breath. I was not expecting that at all.
From 1999 to 2003 Tunbridge Wells held a winter street festival which brought a huge range of street acts to the town. It was supposed to be a way of enticing shoppers into the town centre between Christmas & new year, but for anti-consumerists like me it was just an awesome free festival that would see me in town early & running up & down the precinct to catch each act. 2003 was a particularly wet year, & some acts had an audience of one. At the end of one of the days the last act was Martinez & Fabrega's Incredible Bull Circus. Unfortunately for them the heavens really opened, they shouted themselves hoarse just to be heard over the sound of the rain drops. The act itself was a collection of daft stunts with various toys, fireworks & such, but because of the rain nothing worked. In the end the act pretty much boiled down to the two performers explaining what should have happened, & it was hilarious. Despite the conditions they managed to hold an audience of over a dozen people with nothing but their showmanship.
So there we go. What have you got out of a live show that you couldn't have got from vimeotube.tv?