Video and Country Music

For years now, we have been teaching Communication Technology to our students.  Part of that course involves shooting video and editing it for public performance.  It’s a great opportunity for students and certainly turned out to be a profession for my son who works for Survivorman, The Discovery Network and Rogers Sportsnet.  The price for these products has dropped incredibly over the years.  The products themselves have evolved from an elaborate setup with firewire connections and setup issues to the RCA Small Wonder cameras that we buy for our schools that just plug into a USB port on your computer and you’re good to go.

Last night, we took in the Alan Jackson concert at Caesars Windsor and were treated to an incredible show from one of the most recognized talents in the realm of country music.  To keep my marriage rock solid, we did end up getting into the hall as the doors open so that we could watch the audience stream in for the next hour.  To help kill the time, I did send out a Tweet on my phone that we were here waiting for the show to start.  I also sent out a picture of the stage in its readiness although it was kind of grainy and didn’t display well well in the low light and our distance from the stage.  We had the seats that make most of the rest look really good!  Lesson learned about ordering three tickets as opposed to two or four.  At least one of my Twitter followers didn’t recognize the name but she did a quick Google search to realize what I was doing.

So, we’re in for a real treat of a show and Mr. Jackson didn’t disappoint.  We were treated to “Small Town Southern Man”, “Like Red on a Rose”, “Chattahoochee”, “The Blues Man”, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?”, “Drive”, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”, among many other of his well recognized songs.

The mathematician in me is also working on this.  We had some of the cheapest seats because we needed to book three.  But that’s OK.  It’s a small venue but the acoustics are incredible.  Even at though, our tickets were $55 so it’s not something that we do on a weekly basis.  It does seat 5000 people so I did the math and can understand how they can bring in such a talent.

The production values were great.  Behind the band on the stage are three screens and to either side of the side of the stage are two very large screens.  Throughout the songs, camera people are on the stage zeroing in on the performers and these images are mixed into music video clips that you would see on CMT.  All in all, a spectacular performance that reaches out and grabs the senses.

Then, towards the very end of the show, the band plays “Where I Come From“.  I’ve linked to the lyrics for the song and attached a Wordle for a bit of reference.

Now, you’ll notice that “come” has the highest frequency which should come as no surprise since it’s in the chorus and repeated many times throughout the song.  But, look to the references to things you’d see in your community.  “Heaven”, “Chicken”, “Cornbread”, “Porch”, …

But, how it was presented was the show stopper.  Someone…crew, Casino, Alan himself?  had gone through the city and shot video footage from the Windsor area!  When the song made reference to “Barney”, there was a video of a LaSalle police car.  When they made reference to “Detroit City”, there was a shot of the Detroit skyline.  Where they talked about “Chicken”, the Colonel’s store on Huron Church was displayed and when they talked about “Salsa”, the video zeroed in on a Taco Bell.

The audience went wild and I just sat there amazed.  Not only was the video local, but the timing was absolutely perfect.  In a song, you don’t linger on any particular word or phrase for long.  One of the challenges that any video creator has is the synchronization of the audio with the video.  Here, it appeared to be bang on.

So, in the middle of this very entertaining evening, we see a convergence of a few things.  The concert was incredible.  Of that, there was no question.  But, the inclusion of local video and its production value just blew me away.  The lyrics of the song talk about a local community but the video made it our community.  If that doesn’t speak volumes for digital storytelling, I’m not sure what else would.

It was just such a wow night on so many levels.

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