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Write Now: Tribute Bands Are Serious About Their Craft, Appearances

When you attend a concert of a rock band, you see and hear the band play its own music. On occasion the band will play (cover) songs by other artists.

Sometimes it’s nice to hear another version or interpretation of song that you may have liked.

The real reason you paid money for a ticket was the fact that your beloved band or artist was going to deliver music — original music. Original music is what drives ticket sales. When bands release new music, a tour usually follows. For established bands, tours are almost guaranteed money makers, and for up-and-coming bands, it may be a chance for them to break even.

COVID-19 changed all that for now as bands have stopped touring. Maybe by December or January 2021 tours will begin again.

But before the pandemic hit and the forced lockdown, cover bands were making money. Also making money were the tribute bands. Both types of bands play others bands’ music, but the tribute band is a tribute to one band. The mission of the tribute band is to sound just the band to which it is playing tribute. And usually the tribute band will take its name after a song or album title of the original band. Some tribute members may dawn costumes to look like original members.

One band that continues to gain a host of tribute bands is The Beatles. You know The Beatles tribute band members have done their homework when they have a left-handed bassist playing the part of Paul McCartney. I have had the pleasure of seeing three Beatles tribute bands, plus a Cirque du Soleil show all about The Beatles entitled “Love” when I lived in Las Vegas. The Cirque shows and the tribute band shows all fetched high ticket prices because being in Vegas, they could.

Other tribute bands exist and they tour as well. Before the pandemic, two tribute bands, Shania Twin, a tribute to Shania Twain, and The Floyd Concept, a Tribute to Pink Floyd, were set to play Struthers Library Theater in Warren, Pa. The shows have been rescheduled for Sept. 19, and Oct. 9 respectively.

The main attraction of tribute bands is music and accessibility. Fans who otherwise would not be able to see the original artists on tour, can get a simulacra version of their favorite artists. While it’s not the original artist, in some cases if you close your eyes during the performance, you may think so.

Tribute bands, believe or not, may sound better than the original bands live. The reason is some of the original members of the original band have either left band for different reasons or maybe they have died, and because of their artistic nature, original band members could not find a suitable replacement.

You would think it is easy work being a musician in a tribute band. I think it maybe the contrary because you have to uphold the legacy built by the original band. A cover band could play different versions of songs because it is a cover band and there are no set rules on how to play cover songs. In the tribute band, there are also no set rules, but there are expectations. And the audience members who paid money to see the tribute bands expect to see and hear the closest version of the songs. Remember some people in the audience may have seen the original band, and are checking out the tribute band to see and hear how good it is. That’s where the work ethic comes into play, no pun intended. All it takes is for some audience members to say to the tribute band members that the band did not sound at all like the original band. The members would either continue with no changes or maybe they could ask the critics what needs work. Sometimes working criticism helps because it will help the whole project.

So the next time you get a chance to see a tribute band, and you have already seen the original band, compare the bands or just listen for the experience.

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