The difference between performing with live musicians versus tracks is substantial.
With tracks, you basically sing the song with prerecorded music. For me, it’s just singing along as if I’m doing karaoke. It is fun, but it’s predictable because there is no change in the music and the feel of the music. I can sing all over it, but there is no one to interact with. Tracks are really good though if the venue is limited or the budget is limited. Good artists make them work.
With life musicians — oooooh! There’s a lot of energy coming from the people playing the music and from the music itself. It’s not just live – it is “live.” The music is alive. It’s moving, flowing and taking you places. There is so much more to do because everyone is feeling something different and exciting from the music being created. It goes places and takes you with it if you become a part of it doing what it’s doing. I don’t know how to explain it much differently…
There is a pattern and a structure to the song, but there are so many different variations that can occur. From solos to changes in the pattern, to accents in various places to going back and forth vocally with the guitar or the horn – it’s an amazing feeling. Improvisation. People have the freedom to improvise on the spot in various places. We’re all along for the ride. We’re riding on those vibrations from the music.
As a listener, you already know. Music takes you places.