Never before in history has the study of cause-and-effect been in such turmoil. While artists such as Charlotte Church and Dave Matthews Band have been blamed for dot-coms biting the dust, most random theoreticians have dismissed concert-related happenings as mere coincidences.

That is, until now.

At the center of the controversy is the most recent publication of Marshall McCluhan’s The Concert Is The Massage, translated into English from its original Canadianese by Bryan Adams. In it, McCluhan throws out the old theories, such as Amy Ray and Eric Bibb influencing the revival of cannibalism in Bakersfield, or Sean Cassidy’s recent TV deal altering the groupie-to-band-member ratio for Ocean Colour Scene.

Instead, McCluhan argues that various lines of energy circumnavigate the globe, and that by scheduling a concert, such as Eric Clapton or U2, where these lines intersect, one can experience sold-out shows and triple, sometimes even quadruple encores. Adding fuel to the argument is McCluhan’s claim that major venues, like New York’s Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, sit at the nexus of the energy flows.

Unfortunately, the dilemma of whether concerts influence life or visa versa, may never be solved within the near future. While California’s rolling power blackouts have been cited for changes in the usually sunny dispositions of road managers working for The Urge and Savatage, others claim that planning future shows for MxPx, may result in higher instances of teenage acne, as well as increasing the annoyance factor of Taco Bell commercials.

Coming up later this week: Did the announcement of the Ozzfest 2001 tour influence Turner Broadcasting’s decision to stop airing World Wrestling Federation events? Until then, drive defensively, watch out for the other guy and never ask “what’s for dinner?” when you’re in Bakersfield.

It may very well be you.