Comeback performances in sports have a different effect on the spectator than if she watched a perfect game. One has witnessed the endurance of the human spirit; that through hardship one was able to push through adversity and make something of it. Grit is seen as an admirable trait in sports. Comebacks are one of the most cherished moments one could witness in a sport.
What is fascinating is putting the idea of comeback performances in music. To witness it within music is reward though odd compared to our expectations. Comebacks seem antithetical to what we look for in a great concert. We supposedly want to hear beautiful music at a show, implying an authoritative musician.
But do they really clash?
Sure, the performer missed some notes or had a huge memory slip, but could one not argue that virtuosity was still on display as they broke through such problems to emphatically deliver the rest of the music?
It is a virtuosity we see and champion in sports: to remain calm within mental and physical discomfort and see victoriousness through. There is an authority of mind here. A musician can be just as authoritative when he succeeds in spite of a morale crushing mistake.
Grit is admirable. But, lest we forget, it is grit. A smooth surface of a wonderful performance is compromised and we question it. The performer especially questions it.
Yet are we merely approaching music on a surface level? Some of the notes did not ring clearly. One or two passages were obstructed by lack of memory. That is a cause for some concern. But let us not forget what there is past the surface of notes and musicality. There is a person who endured.
That is a cause of celebration and admiration in of itself.