Believe in Bootlegs

Repost from gr4c5 side:

I’ve never been one to get too involved with the great bootleg debate. Either you believe in taping or you don’t. Either you see it as a way to share live music or you see it as a way to steal from said artist. Whatever. I know where I stand. My first introduction to boots was through my husband. I had just seen Natalie Merchant headline for the very first time (Le Spectrum, Montreal October 1999). Kisa found “the show” for me and finagled a trade. I had no clue what that meant and was in awe of the idea that everything Natalie said would be mine for keeps. Mine in the form of a cd I could listen to over and over again. Her reading of Freddie the Fish in French, her Happy Birthday to Me inebriation, Hey Jack (twice), the swearing – yes, Natalie swears. It was like I was back in Montreal, speaking bad horrible French and sipping amazing coffee. When the cds arrived I could barely believe I could relive one of the best moments of my short concert-going life. I was hooked. In my mind, because I was at this show, I now have a souvenir, a keepsake of a really, really good time. Later I found another Natalie Merchant show. This one I took my mother to as a Mother’s Day present. We had one of the best mother-daughter times I could ever ask for. On the recording I can hear kisa and mom helping me scream for a request… and at the end of the night when Natalie breathes “goodnight Portland” I know she is leaning down to smile at us.
Fast forward to last night. Kisa found a “secret” show that BubbleGum put on before the release of Continuum. An intimate show billed under a fake name. BG is like Natalie in that he likes to showcase his new songs to an unsuspecting audience, just to test them out. Just show up somewhere and play it out, play it for them. See how it all turns out. I am grateful for the recording. I am so busy the chances of me “discovering” a secret show are next to nil. Going to be one would be impossible because the chances of BG or Natalie choosing my little town to drop in on is not going to happen. So, having a bootleg of something I missed out on is awesome.
Here’s how I look at the great debate. If the artist supports taping it’s not stealing. The other angle is this – when I went to see BG I paid $4o (before taxes) for the ticket. I bought two shirts to the tune of $60 and you can bet I’ll buy every album he puts out from now on. How did this all start? I heard a bootleg of a Jimi Hendrix cover and was impressed. If I hadn’t heard the boot I wouldn’t have given BG a second look, nor one listen. I wouldn’t have spent $100+ in a single night. He gained a fan because he allowed someone to share. With me.

So, I see bootlegs as a way to capture a I-Was-There moment but I also see bootlegs as a way to alleviate that I-Missed-Out-On-Something-Great feeling. Finally, I see bootlegs as a way to get to know an artist I never would have taken a chance on otherwise. One final word – share the music. If it’s not yours you don’t own it and if you don’t own it you don’t sell it.

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Categories: Confessional, music, Old Blogs | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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