Dave Grohl  of Foo Fighters performs during  I Am The Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell  in Inglewood, California.
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters performs during I Am The Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell in Inglewood, California. Chris Pizzello

Technology introducing new generations to music

THE late Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog frontman Chris Cornell was honoured last week in a huge tribute concert - and I was there to see it.

No, I didn't have to take out a small loan to pay for a ticket where prices ranged from $600 for nosebleed seats up to almost $10,000 for general admission. I also didn't have to keep refreshing the browser seconds before tickets went on sale, only to discover that I would be stuck in a digital line behind literally thousands of people around the world.

Instead, I turned to technology.

From the comfort of my home I was able to share the experience with thousands of others who were unable to physically or financially attend this five-hour, 42-song concert.

One that saw music royalty from The Melvins, Foo Fighters, Ryan Adams to Metallica - all paying tribute to Cornell.

From backstage with the crew to standing among fans in the crowd, I watched through various live streams and videos while Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age put a blues twang to Soundgarden's otherwise heart pumping Rusty Cage.

The immediacy and convenience of technology has, understandably, copped a bad rap over the years. What with it invading our private lives 24/7, social media holding us to ransom or pressuring us to socially engineer a life we simply don't lead. But I can also see the benefits of this growing technology.

I'm one of the few from my generation who remembers 'before the internet' where you wouldn't hear about any overseas concert unless it was advertised in a major metro newspaper or if you kept up to date with the few music magazines found in a local newsagent (often you had to order them). Of course, there was Channel [V] who did a great job of covering big events like Big Day Out - if you were lucky enough to afford Foxtel.

If you did get wind of a concert such as last week's I Am The Highway tribute show, getting a hold of any video or audio of the event would take several months, even years to acquire - and that's if you're lucky enough to find someone who had the equipment to record it and the ability to copy it to a VHS or CD.

Watching this concert for free might be just another example of online piracy, (and let's be brutally honest: it is), but the knock-on effect will no doubt outweigh any digital crime. Right now, a new generation are clicking on these videos and being introduced to the music that helped define a significant era in music history. Right now, a new generation are falling in love with the words of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, thereby continuing their legacy.

And it's all thanks to live streaming and video platforms who help continue this legacy. Though, when the opportunity finally arrives for me to physically attend another concert, I'll be sure to put my phone away and enjoy the experience in real life.



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