This weekend, we got to see a taiko drum performance. Despite some difficulty making it out the door in time, a required stop for gas, and driving in freezing rain turning to snow, we made it more or less on time. Unfortunately, we ended up with seats that left something to be desired. Entering when we did, we ended up sitting behind the sound board in the theater. Normally, this wouldn’t have been so bad, except that the person operating the sound board was also filming the performance, and spent most of it standing in front of us in order to operate the camera. Perhaps the reason she was able to spend all of her time filming was because it was a drum performance, and the sound equipment was completely unnecessary. It looked like it was turned on, but it wasn’t actually in use.
Even when they were playing quietly, the drummers were entirely audible even from the back of the theater. When they really put their weight into it, I could feel the sound rumbling through my chest and vibrating up through the floor into my feet. It was exactly the effect that people with very expensive sound systems in their cars try to duplicate at stoplights, without any of the distortion that usually makes a mockery of such attempts. As I sat, looking at the back of the camera operator and feeling the sound roll through me, I spent some time thinking about how I tend to experience these kinds of events.