I’ve noticed this before but just experienced it again. Been watching a DVD from the ’60s titled The Blues Greats featuring Willie Dixon on bass, Peter Chatman (aka Memphis Slim) on piano, Billie Stephanie (sp) on drums, and Matt “Guitar” Murphy on guitar. The venue was a small intimate room with an audience seated on three sides of the low stage. The musicians were pretty much wailing on some numbers while the mostly all-white audience passively and politely sits frozen to its chairs with but one foot a patting to the thump of Dixon’s bass line.
It is such a marked difference between today’s audiences where people are into the beat, on their feet, on their chairs dancing, belting out the lyrics, and working up lathering sweats. If Muddy Waters was alive today and doing Got My Mojo Working there would be people in the bushes and under the bleachers doing God only knows what. Ours is certainly a much less formal culture. No Grant Wood American Gothic staidness in today’s America.