Fairly recently, I was given the opportunity to see a few tribute bands at a bar about an hour away from me. My initial reaction was to wonder why I would want to watch a bunch of guys be totally unoriginal and kind of sad and washed up for $10. I decided that any live music was worth it, and resolved to go to the show with my parents, a friend of mine, and some extended family. My preconceived notions were (mostly) shattered that night, and I walked away having learned something valuable about the real varieties that exist from the total environment of one person to the next, and the strange experiences that may come from immersing yourself in someone else’s ideal world.
Three tributes played that night, one for Alice In Chains, one for Dio, and a nationally touring one for Mötley Crüe. The band that played Alice In Chains was a little closer to a group of guys that liked to play Alice In Chains after work sometimes than a tribute band, but they were the opener so I hadn’t expected an awe inspiring performance. The Dio tribute faired slightly better, with a very realistic sound and at least an attempt to emulate the original band in performance, but I was still a little over it so to speak. And then came Mötley Crüe’s tribute, Wrecking Crüe.
I have never been the biggest fan of Mötley Crüe, but I will never forget that performance. Within a song or two, I felt like I had somehow been transported to the 80’s and was witnessing Mötley Crüe up close and personal. From what I could see, These men had everything down, the look, the sound, and the antics between songs. In that moment it hit me that this was probably their total environment. While they preformed, they were not just some guys who wished they were a popular band, they were that band. I pictured these men as teens, wishing they were Mötley Crüe. Now, as adults they are Mötley Crüe. It was in that moment that I realize that a total environment was exactly what the members of a tribute band was looking to achieve, and I gained a lot of respect for the members for them having achieved it.
Walking out, I half expected the world to be a bit different. That sense of time travel had not fully left me. Time travel, it seems, is possible if one knows how to embody it.