The Era of Digital Concerts
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many if not all of my favorite venues have thankfully shut down temporarily for the safety of their staff and consumers. However, I have to say that I miss where my serotonin levels were when live shows were a thing. The pandemic has begun to make several industries rethink their model and innovate based on the current circumstances. I was definitely intrigued to see the way that the music industry shifted.
Digital concerts began to flood my timeline, from the R&B weekly battles to nostalgic band reunions, the energy that came from these events was palpable, even to someone watching from the outside. Although I wasn’t able to catch many of those performances, when my favorite band announced that they were renting out one of the most beautiful venues in the United States and streaming the “funeral” of their latest release for fans all around the world…I knew that I needed in.
The Maine was one of the first bands that I ever really felt connected to. As a depressive, romantic adolescent, John O’Callaghan’s lyrics struck a chord with me immediately. I have seen the group multiple times in person, and they create a huge production, unlike any other artist I’ve seen. However, I knew that this felt different, and I had to be a part of this experience.
So I signed up for the Livestream on Pillar (a platform that supports musicians) and waited for the day to arrive. On the date of the concert, I was told that there was a preshow. Upon logging to the app, I realized that there was a lot more. The band had created specialty cocktails that viewers could recreate in preparation for the performance and the merch shop was open. The chat was already filled with people talking amongst themselves in the comments. I moved over to twitter where a hashtag had been created and there were several posts in it already discussing their setups for tonight’s performance and what the band meant to them.
I couldn’t lie, it really pumped me up. As the concert began, over 4,000 fans around the globe were watching the performance. The ability to craft a backdrop wasn’t missed with a pre-filled b-roll entrance and interviews with each member before they took the stage. It was a perfect ending to the era, as we all hysterically cried about the setlist on social media. Although you could tell that it was weird for the guys, filled with awkward transitions between songs and the inability to actually hear the crowd scream back with them, it seemed like nothing had really changed. They were still high energy, cracking jokes and discussing the future of their next album.
I really thought that I wouldn’t love participating in a socially-distant concert. As someone who’s lived in a general admission venue for the majority of my teens and 20s, I felt like energy couldn’t possibly resemble the sweaty, screaming, electric energy that comes with live music. Although it definitely wasn’t the same, it wasn’t actually comparable. This experience gave fans the ability to connect and talk with fans they’d never see in person, giving a large part of the fanbase a similar experience that we can all reminisce about. It also gave the band the bandwidth to add on additional content (like that….bizarre aftershow and Q&A) that they couldn’t in a live setting.
And of course, being able to hear and feel my toes after the show was definitely a plus.
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