Gold Supporting Member
Garbage is using tracks? OMG Say it ain't so - Jeeze ZZ Top used tracks.
Yes, times have changed, with the use of tracks having gone from completely unacceptable to mostly no one cares. Call me old school. When I go to see a band, I want to see a BAND, not people playing along to tracks. Exception: Kraftwerk, since they wrote the book on man-machine musical symbiosis.
Now some of the metal bands I’ve seen who have their guitars and bass on tracks; nope. Screw those guys.
Bottom line is you don't want to listen to backing tracks in a performance, don't go. The band won't even notice you're missing because they're selling tickets like hotcakes since the general public couldn't care less and most touring bands are now using them in one way or another. There's always the local club featuring Slow Joe's Garage Band and you might get to dance with that 215 lbs ex high school cheerleader that's been drunk all night and has dried puke down the front of her shirt.
Which bands? I remember Heaven and Hell live before Dio passed away and I don't think it was a backing track playing, I think it was Iommi's roadie playing rhythm guitar offstage for certain songs.
I give up. Garbage (Shirley) was the epitome of attitude in the 90s.
Hey, just announce on the tickets that "this band uses backing tracks"; spare me the walkout expense.
I'm kind of the exact opposite. I think I'm WAY more impressed with a band that doesn't have to depend on any vocal tracks (other than maybe a choir). To me the ideal backing track is just the additional instruments needed for a given song (maybe two or three at most) and everything else live. And you only use backing tracks if needed, and it's usually not needed on every song.This is true...sadly (to me). I think I've mentioned this before here but my first experience with backing tracks was seeing a local 80s cover band in Denver. Mid 2010s. They were playing a gig out in front of a nice bar on the walking street of downtown Denver. I happened to be around there and at one point, I heard bass but saw the hands of the bassist leave the instrument for a bit. At another point, I also saw the drummer have to catch up to the drum track that was playing. That was more egregious, but guess what...no one cared or noticed other than the folded-arm musician that was me!
I like backing tracks for vocals. Most bands can't reproduce tight harmony (or any harmony) live.
I'm kind of the exact opposite. I think I'm WAY more impressed with a band that doesn't have to depend on any vocal tracks (other than maybe a choir). To me the ideal backing track is just the additional instruments needed for a given song (maybe two or three at most) and everything else live. And you only use backing tracks if needed, and it's usually not needed on every song.
That's pretty much how my band does it. All vocals and vocal harmonies are always live as are our individual instruments. I personally play and create all our specific backing tracks in my studio and there are rarely more than just a couple of different instruments for fill.
The thing most people tend to not know about backing tracks, they're typically MUCH more than just instruments. An important component of our backing tracks and most backing track systems is they provide synchronized stage automation of all of our floorboards and lighting and can even configure certain vocal effects for some songs at the mixing board.
I think the biggest failure of backing tracks is the number of musicians that have no idea how sophisticated and advanced they really are and what they can add to a performance.
I think it varies with different bands. I know when I was playing in bands in the 80's we had to master all the harmonies ourselves. It was just part of playing Eagles, Little River Band or Journey and it was expected. I've seen a few 80's bands but mostly I've just noticed is if they don't have the singers they don't do the harmony parts more than anything else. But that may have changed now that the technology has advanced to the point it's so available to everyone.Fair...and enlightening...points. I've never played with folks that have gone to that level but I can certainly respect that it takes a lot of showmanship and skill to pull off well.
I think it's pretty common though for a lot of the 80s acts that are still touring to do backing vocals in support of blending in the normal/harmony vocals, isn't it?