CHAOS, ECSTASY, AND THE MYSTICAL SPECTACLE
U2's 360 concert, the ultimate panopticon
In the Now Age, the music concert should serve as a bridge between worlds. This is not limited to an elite group of bands. Any band can participate in activating this potential. The concert utilizes many ancient religious strategies of icon worship, call and response chanting, group mentality, martyrdom, out-of- body experiences, and transformation of the physical environment to create a metaphysical liminal space filled with shock and awe. It is a mass concentration of simultaneous chaos and ecstasy, a ritual sacrifice in which the performer and audience both give their lives.
Mayhem sacrifices a pig onstage.
The architecture of the concert space is one to ensure that the mystical transformation of Sacrifice into Spectacle can occur. The word “spectacle” here is not to be confused with the Debordian definition of spectacle as a product for mass consumption; instead we are re-defining Spectacle as the product of mass manifestation, Spectacle as the physical manifestation of collective consciousness.
SHOCK AND AWE
The spectacle is held up by two pillars: Shock and Awe.
The “shock” moment occurs when the audience realizes their existential position to the performer is not one of a passive onlooker, but of an active participant in their existence. That is, the performer is revealed to be the active embodiment of the collective unconsciousness of the audience, and in turn the unconsciousness of the audience is equally influenced by the songs and actions of the performer.
The “awe” moment arrives when both performer and audience realize that each one’s existence in this space is wholly dependent on that of the others’, and the distinction simply ceases to be. Time ceases to pass. The architecture of the space itself ceases to be. They lose themselves. The Many and the One fuse together in either chaotic frenzy or ecstatic triumph. There is no separation between internal song and external song, only Hyparctic Song. This is the transformation of the Sacrifice into Spectacle, when death of self (finite) becomes a conduit for eternity to be experienced.
Lady Gaga "dies" onstage