Perceptions and Expectations: Analyzing the Concert Experience in a Live vs. Televised Format
In experiencing a real-life situation in the flesh rather than in viewing its projection through a medium such as television, one's experience differs significantly. The expectations one brings to a live performance vs. The expectations one brings to the viewing of that same performance on television are radically different, as experiencing the performance in the flesh brings with it an entirely different experience that one expects to achieve upon deciding to attend. This type of expectation can be seen in viewing the example of attending a rock concert vs. watching the same concert on television. In looking at the two situations in comparison to one another, it can be seen that several factors come into play to distinguish the two from one another most significantly. These factors include: tolerance for boredom or inactivity, expectations of perfection and high levels of performance, possible misconceptions of physical and social events, and possible limited contact with and a superficial view of one's own environment.
Tolerance for Boredom or Inactivity
Boredom is defined as "a unique psychophysiological state possessing interrelated and inseparable emotional motivational, perceptual and cognitive concomitants (Balzer 2004, 289). In other words, boredom is something that happens or exists along with or at the same time as something else. Many individuals assert that they are "bored" when nothing else is going on around them. However, the reality is that there is always something going on around us whether these instances are easy or difficult to perceive. In realizing this, the question of boredom at a function such as a rock concert becomes a curious one. A function such as a rock concert produces such heavy sensory stimulus to an individual that the idea of being bored or inactive at such a function seems implausible, espectially in viewing a concert in person.
In order to gauge the ability for boredom at such a function, one must first understand the differences in expectation levels that one brings to a live show vs. A televised one. Only in understanding this factor can the capactity for boredom also be fully understood. Normally a rock concert is not synonymous with "an aversion for repetitive experience of any kind, routine work, or dull and boring people and extreme restlessness under conditions when escape from constancy is impossi-
ble" ( Zuckerman 1979, p. 103). How then does one have the capacity to become bored in watching such a normally stimulating event?
Communications expert Michael Morgan notes that "television serves as the primary common storyteller for an otherwise heterogenrous population" (Morgan 2008, 325). Therfore, television is able to mainstream in terms of providing universal knowledge or subject matter to a vast public. In viewing a concert at home in a televised format, one expects that the experience will not be as stimulating as it would be if one were at the concert in person. However, in viewing a concert on television, one understands that there will be a certain level of production quality that is to be expected, making the overall experience of viewing the concert pleasing to both the eyes and ears. In watching a rock concert on television, one is able to view the concert as if they had a front-row seat, which may be ideal to certain individuals. In watching a performance in one's home, however, the prospect of boredom becomes a far more likely one.
In watching the performance in one's living room on the couch brings about the distractions of home that one at the concert would not experience. In watching the concert from one's home, one has the capacity to become bored with the situation faster in response to other stimuli within his or her environment. The likelihood of one turning off the concert in response to boredom is far more likely than an individual leaving a concert in person. In contrast, a person attending a concert in a live format has little tolerance for boredom or inactivity. In attending a concert, one has paid money to become part of the visceral experience. It is likely the financial aspect of attending that eliminates any tolerance for boredom whatsoever. In paying for a ticket, one is paying for entertainment and stimulation, and boredom of any sort will not be tolerated.
Expectations of Perfection and High Levels of Performance
In viewing a concert at home, one has expectations of perfection and high levels of performance in the event they are viewing. Watching a concert on the television usually goes hand in hand with the concept that the quality of the show was high enough to be televised in itself. Elements such as production value and sound quality are concepts to be valued in viewing a performance on television, and in deciding to watch such a program, one is expecting to see these elements as they have become standard in this type of production.
In attending a concert in person, one also brings expectations of performance and high levels of perfection, but in a different manner. Those who attend rock concerts on a regular basis understand that though the level of performance from the band at hand should be high, the chance for perfection is unlikely. In every concert situation, whether showing the performance of a seasoned band or of a newcomer contains certain glitches and aspects that are far from perfection, but are to be expected. In attending a concert in person, one has the expectations of equiptment and sound checks or other pauses in performance that individuals watching the same performance on television have little to no tolerance for.
Possibe Misconceptions of Physical and Social Events
A person's environment includes all types of physical and social events that might change or be changed by one's behavior or expectations. It seems unclear as to how a rock concert could be misconceived in the capacity being a physical or social event. The likelihood for misconception comes more in relation to one watching a performance from home than in person. An individual who purchases a ticket generally understands the social and physical setting that they will become a part of upon attending the event. However, in watching the same performance from home, an indivual can maintain many misconceptions about the venue and event that is actually going on due to media interference in terms of marketing, editing and promotions.
In viewing how these events may be experienced the concept of framing comes highly into play. Framing refers to "a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events" (Goffman 1974, 1). In other words, individuals enable certain mental filters to frame their experiences based on influences that affect them in their own lives and through their own past experiences. Researcher Chrisitane Eilders notes that "framing" is a "good illustration of the persuasive and evaluative dimensions of mass communication" (Eilders 2002, 25). In deciding to show such an even on television, the media network associated with its viewing takes on a new role as mediator between the performers on stage and the audience at home. In this case, media interlopers do not "act as neutral information agens, but take on an active role in selecting and structuring information, interpreting how the content is presented (Eilders 2002, 25).
Possible Limited Contact With and A Superficial View of Environment
In assessing the rock concert experience, the concept of gatekeeping also comes into play in terms of a viewer's limited contact with and superficial view of an environment. Gatekeeping is "the process through which information is filtered for disseminiation, be it publication, broadcasting, the internet, or some other type of communication" (Barzilai-Nahon 2009, 435).
Gatekeeping occurs at many levels of the media hierarchy, which can be seen in both an at-home viewing of a concert or in person. In an at-home setting, a viewer takes in only the information that has been provided through the media network responsible for broadcasting the event. In this situation, the viewer knows nothing of what material may have been filtered out of the actual live performance in order to frame a more suitable final product for the network. Everyone has seen instances of media censorship in one way or another. Take for example the many instances of swearing, nudity, or other situations that have been edited for content and kept of out television broadcasts, only to come into the public light through news media sources or tabloids. It is this type of gatekeeping that allows a corporation or broadcasting network to tailor a performance to its tastes before broadcasting this taste to an outside audience, which provides a tye of superficial, manufactured, artificial experience to the at-home audience.
The live audience is also subject to gatekeeping at a concert, albeit not in the same way as the home audience. In terms of gatekeeping at a live venue, artists are often restricted in some manner…