GREAT overview, Jim (lomitus), I agree entirely.
Especially on people's perceptions/pre-conceptions before actually hearing a given amp. I play through several setups, depending on band configuration, musical genre, venue size, load-in logistics, etc.
When I choose to leave the old Bassman home, (54lbs!) and bring my Mustang III, (a startlingly kick-ass Fender SS Modeling amp if you know what you're doing), I often get 'the look,' from players with rigid mindsets and diehard tube 'bias' (see what I did there?). Funny thing though: IF they DON'T happen to notice the LED panel to the right of the knobs, all they say is, "Whoa, great tone!"
And folks who just come to hear some good music on a Friday night are refreshingly unconcerned with surface cosmetics.
Even though my comment there is actually 6 years old now, I thank you for the kind words! After having read what I wrote there, it's kind of interesting that after 6 years, my opinion on that hasn't really changed at all. Yea, I still drag my little Peavey around to practices/jams (although I have a Fender Princeton now that gets a bit of use) and yea, my L5 is still my main gigging amp (although the Bandmaster is mostly retired to just studio work now). In fact over the past year I've gotten pretty heavily into guitar synth and I rely on that L5 more than ever because of it's versatility...not only a great sounding guitar amp, but does a wonderful job with all the keyboard/piano/horn sounds I use now. As much as I love a fiesty old Twin, I just wouldn't be able to get the kind of versatility out of one...black face, silver face or otherwise.
I've worked with a couple of those "purists" over the years (both regarding amps and guitars) and, yea...I know "the look". Personally I find folks like that to be quite annoying (although I do rather enjoy embarrassing them, LOL). I guess it's simply that when you get sooooooo hung up on "a piece of gear", then you're really missing the point of playing. As you say, when you're doing a weekend gig, most people really couldn't care less about what kind of gear you use...99.9% of people at a given show really wouldn't know the difference between a Marshall and a Fender or between a Strat and a Les Paul, let alone any difference between a silver face and a black face. To the greatest majority of your crowd, it's "a guitar". The majority of the crowd simply knows whether you played well and whether or not they liked it. What's more is that in any given average venue, between "the house" itself, the inconsistencies of the crowd, whether or not you're running thru a PA system, etc., etc., it doesn't really even matter anyways, as any nuances between given pieces of gear become completely obscured by the ambient noise. Same goes for recording really...by the time the engineer gets thru pushing and pulling and shaping that sound to fit into the "sonic spectrum", there's very little of the original signal/sound left anyways. I've used my old Bandmaster for recording and I've used my little Roland Microcube...6 of one, half dozen the other. I recently recorded a cover of an old Link Wray tune for a video animation project of mine (a 50's style diner, ala American Graffiti)...the drum track was just a stock Reason/ReDrum beat, the bass was done on a Strat thru the guitar synth and the guitar part was done on a MIM Fender "Squier Series" (with GF pickups) thru the Microcube. So far not one single person has even asked about the gear...most are just amazed that I know who Link Wray was
Each to their own I guess but when it comes to gear, I think A LOT of people would be better musicians if they focused less on issues such as tube vs ss, new vs. vintage, where their guitar was made, etc., and just spent more time -playing-. At the end of the day, you can have the most expensive vintage or boutique/custom gear but if your playing sucks, the rest really doesn't matter at all because no one's gonna listen.
Anyways, again thank you for the kind words and it's good to see someone out there still has some common sense