Remember the old commercial—"Is it live, or is it Memorex?" The question of whether or not recorded music can be indistinguishable from a live performance has been bandied about since the first days of Thomas Edison's "talking machine," when many listeners claimed the recorded sound was identical to the original.
Of course, our modern ears are more refined than that, but so are modern recording and playback systems, so the question remains. Stereophile editor John Atkinson documented an interesting experiment in which he recorded a live piano recital and immediately played the recording for the same audience, and Michael Lavorgna addressed the issue in Stereophile here. Steve Guttenberg provides more food for thought in an article for Stereophile and his Audiophiliac blog on CNET.
Do you think it's at least theoretically possible for recorded music to be indistinguishable from a live performance? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why not?