Tribute Bands: Even better than the real thing?

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I’ve never understood the whole tribute band thing. I also never understood the people who reenact Civil War battles, so maybe this is a blind spot of some sort… But to do someone else’s songs night after night, aping the sound of the original band, and sometimes even trying to look like the original band, strikes me as a little weird, and a little too much like dressing up for Halloween. Unless you’re being funny or ironic about it, in which case it becomes a novelty.

For me, the problem is that music in a live performance setting should be about playing in the moment, not recreating someone else’s moment years ago. And from what I’m told, most tribute bands (not cover bands, which are a different thing) do slavishly recreate the gestures, the solos, the drum fills, of the original recordings.

Key phrase in all this: “from what I’m told.” That’s right – I’ve never actually seen a tribute band live. If you have, feel free to tell me how I’ve gotten this all wrong…