Interesting question. Although I personally can't stand being 10' from an amp, (or PA, when I'm singing) I have different hypothesis:Quite a number of people say that a few ms delay in the signal chain makes them feel 'disconnected' from the sound. And yet very few people say that being further away from their amp has the same effect. Why? Is it just an excuse to buy those expensive analogue pedals?
What I am suggesting is that it may be easier for the brain to compensate for the delay caused by the physical air gap. Why? because we spend our whole lives listening to sounds coming from different sources, in situations where we can perceive the cause of the sound ....
1: Some people simply have no feel. This is a known fact. Also, many people play consistently ahead of the beat. (esp keyboard players.) Having a little delay can actually put them more into the pocket.
2: Playing live, you here both your amp and the rest of the band, all bouncing off the nearest wall. Even though it's all delayed, it's all delayed kinda' sorta' the same amount, and it smears with the rest.....
3: Once again, the bulk of this thread discussing whether or not it bothers the individual player. That is not the most important factor.
As an engineer, I've done EXTENSIVE tests regarding all these issues, and there is just no question about how this all affects the total groove of a band.
YMMV, but probably not.