During her recent Celebration Tour in Paris, from November 12 to 20, 2023, Madonna surprised her fans by performing without musicians on stage, a practice that raises questions about the future of live concerts. Madonna, known for her use of playback, this time took a further step by eliminating instrumentalists from her show.
The absence of musicians at Madonna’s concerts at the Accor Arena elicited mixed reactions. Some fans said they were indifferent, coming primarily for the star and not for the musical accompaniment. Others, however, expressed their disappointment at this development, perceived as a degradation of the live music experience.
This trend is not unique to Madonna. Artists like Ed Sheeran have also adopted similar practices, using musical loops and recorded backing tracks, thus reducing the need for instrumentalists. These techniques, once reserved for underground stages, are gaining popularity among renowned artists.
Technological advances make the use of recorded backing tracks almost invisible during concerts, allowing artists to produce complex sounds with a minimum of musicians on stage. However, this evolution sparks a debate between the authenticity of live music and the convenience of modern technologies.
Madonna, by performing without musicians, may have marked a turning point in the history of live performances. It remains to be seen whether this practice will be adopted on a larger scale or if it will remain an exception in the musical landscape.