Canceled in-person concerts doesn’t mean we need to totally go without that live music magic
I’ve always loved live music. My earliest memories are of my family creating music together. My dad on the acoustic guitar, my brother on bass, my mom on the piano or percussion. As I got older, high school parties were often interrupted by a plea from my friends to test-drive the musical instruments that filled our living room. My mom — who needs little convincing — would take the lead on the piano, while my friends tapped out a rhythm on one of our djembe drums and egg shakers. At the time, I was completely embarrassed. I was sure there was a much cooler high school party across town where kids were making poor decisions and definitely not engaged in a jam session with parents. But later I was thankful.
My family certainly wasn’t a troupe of incredible musicians. For us, it was about having fun and doing something together. And I realize now that it engrained in me a love for live music. I’m drawn to huge stadium concerts just as much as I am the coffeeshop acoustic set or a backyard jam session with friends.
I never quite realized how much I loved live music until this year. At a time when the local concert venue down the street sits dark, and the coffee shop is only serving to-go cups.
There’s no replacing live music — the cheers and hands thrown in the air from the audience are like fuel for the performers on stage. Thinking of it almost makes me miss the glow of smart phones that have formed above concert audiences in the past decade. But now, in the age of Covid-19, we have to take what we can get. And what we can get is actually pretty amazing: a concert, usually put on for free-will donations, right from home.
Make the most of it
At first, I wasn’t keen on the livestream concert idea. Can’t we just watch a movie or something? But then I tuned in to a couple. I was amazed at just how connected I felt to the musicians. Most are livestreaming these performances from intimate settings, like their living room, home studio or even bedroom. It’s fun to get a peek into where they usually practice or write in private.
(Check out one of my favorites below: Post Malone and crew performing a Nirvana tribute. They donated all of their tips to the World Health Organization.)
And I’ve also found that if you really make an event of it, it almost feels like a special night out. A few nights, my husband and I put our baby boy down early, made a couple of cocktails (here’s a few tasty options), and sat in our backyard to listen to a livestream concert. We typed out a few comments of appreciation and made sure to tip the musicians. And even though it wasn’t like being with them, we were still able to catch a bit of that live music magic. You might be able to catch it too.
July 20-31: Gracie Abrams will hold a six-date virtual tour called Minor Bedroom Shows in support of her debut project, Minor. And yes, she will perform from her bedroom. Visit her website for dates and a chance to win tickets.
July 25: St. Louis-native Nelly is marking the 20th anniversary of his diamond-certified debut album, Country Grammar, with a live performance of the album in its entirety. The show will be broadcast in 360-degree virtual reality via MelodyVR at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET. It is free to view via the MelodyVR app on smartphones and VR headsets.
July 25-26: Katy Perry will headline Tomorrowland’s virtual festival, Tomorrowland Around the World. The event will feature more than 60 artists, including Steve Aoki and David Guetta. Tickets start at $12.50 Euros (about $14 U.S.) for single day, and 20 Euros (about $23) for the weekend pass; packages are also available. The event begins at 11 a.m. ET at Tomorrowland.com.
Aug 1: Opera UNTRAPPED Online, a special series of livestream concerts from Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, will showcase a virtual performance called Love: Surrender. The free performance will feature scenes from operas La bohème and Eugene Onegin. Tune in at 7 p.m. ET.
Aug. 8: Live From Seoul With Luv is Monsta X’s global livestream concert, featuring the K-pop group performing songs from their 2020 album, All About Luv. The event also promises behind-the-scenes footage and meet and greets. Tickets begin at $20. The concert begins at 11 p.m. ET.
Aug. 16: Steel Panther is putting on a virtual concert called Rockdown in the Lockdown. Proceeds will benefit Crew Nation, a relief fund for live music crews, and a Los Angeles animal rescue. The band will interact with fans during the show, as well as playing pre-recorded sketch comedy pieces. Tickets start at $15. The show begins at 5 p.m. ET.
Aug. 18: In another installment of Wolf Trap’s Opera UNTRAPPED Online, the performance center will livestream Mozart’s Idomeneo. Mozart wrote the opera when he was just 24 years old. Tune in at 7 p.m. ET.
Don’t forget your local musicians
Keep tabs on your favorite acts this year. They are likely doing some form of livestream concert or performance. I’d encourage you to be intentional about showing your support to local musicians, who rely on those tips from gigs for income. After all, we want them there jamming at that local concert venue or coffeeshop when this thing is all over.
More Artistic Fuel:
Journalist and author Danielle Nadler grew up in South Dakota, where a patient writing teacher fostered in her a love for stories told well. She's worked for newspapers in the Midwest, on the West Coast and the East Coast, and recently launched a storytelling company called Tales and Ales.