The Best Concerts Aren’t Rehearsed

While watching the Super Bowl halftime show today, I appreciated the sheer spectacle of it. A lot of work went into the show, with thousands of people involved. I respect what they did.

But I think there’s something about a highly polished, choreographed show that takes away the magic of a powerful musical performance. It’s like they’ve been instructed to have fun instead of actually having fun (I’m pretty confident that’s almost exactly what all the common folks in the background are told: “Look like you’re having fun!”)

This reminded me of a video I saw recently where Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler encounters a street performer in Russia who happens to be playing an Aerosmith song. The first few seconds of the video are of Tyler watching the performance, and it looks like he’s making a decision. He doesn’t have to–he could have easily applauded the singer or walked away–but instead he does something awesome.

He walks up to the mic at just the right moment and starts singing.

The result is a really incredible duet. There are no lights, no background dancers, no pre-recorded background singers. It’s just Steven Tyler, a Russian dude, and a guitar.

I’ll stop with the hyperbole and just let you watch it. It’s just 81 seconds. I love that Tyler continues to include the singer in the performance when he could have taken over.