It’s been over a year since I went to a concert; something I haven’t been able to say in almost a decade and a half. This time last year, I was eagerly plotting and budgeting for the number of shows I wanted to see in the summer and fall…
…and then, the Rona hit…and show after show got postponed as it became more apparent that this was not going to be a short-term situation.
While it’s been a while and it will be a while yet before I feel comfortable going to a concert again, thanks to the internet, radio, and TV, here are a few ways that I’ve been able to regularly enjoy concerts and performances from my couch since March:
Since I went to a lot of shows at Dos Equis and TMF, I ordered a lot of my concert tix on Live Nation. Once the shutdowns started, a lot of the emails they sent me (other than information regarding show postponements) were links either to previously performed concerts or livestreams that artists were doing from home. My best find through them so far has been past festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.
Until the lockdowns started, I didn’t spend a lot of time on apps like Instagram. DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine became one of the highlights of my week. It felt good to just enjoy songs that I grew up listening to with hundreds of thousands of others all going through a lot of the same fears and uncertainty caused by the prolonged shutdowns. Going back in time and enjoying a sense of nostalgia was the temporary reprieve from reality that I needed. Speaking of nostalgia…
… Thanks to Verzuz, I basically got to watch my childhood battle each other. Snoop Dogg vs DMX, Erykah Badu vs Jill Scott, Timbaland vs Swizz Beatz, and my favorite: Brandy vs. Monica. Going further back in the day, they even had a Patty Labelle vs Gladys Knight battle with a cameo by Dionne Warwick (who you should absolutely follow on Twitter if you’re not already). One of my favorite things is how multigenerational it’s been between people who have been Day One fans, a different group of newer fans, and a third group who may have known a few songs but became fans by the time the battle ended.
Again, speaking of nostalgia, the Grand Ole Opry spent the early part of the shutdown and on through the summer having audienceless shows every Saturday night and livestreamed it on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. When things felt especially low for me this past summer, Saturday nights at 7 became one hour where I could just sit back, relax, and enjoy some of my all-time favorite country acts like Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, and Reba McEntire perform some of my all-time favorite songs.
Of course YouTube has a vast amount of performances and full concerts, but I’ve actually been scoping out different radio stations’ YouTube channels since they upload performances that either happened in their studios or that they sponsored. My regular queue on YouTube includes Texas stations like the two 91.7s (KXT and KVRX), 101X, KTSW, and KUTX as well as stations from other states like KEXP, WNYU, and Lightning 100 And (not meant to be a Radio UTD plug in), but it’s also been cool to watch local acts who were able to come to campus and record for Pseudo Stereo (so you should absolutely check that out too 😉 ) .
Not only did I get the chance to catch past performances from performers and groups like Jon Batiste, The Black Crowes, and Natalie Merchant, the switch to Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts has meant that the series continues as acts like Sofia Rei, Martha Redbone, and Dedicated Men Of Zion have performed virtually.
I don’t get out much anymore and I’m not necessarily inclined to listen to the radio when I’m not driving around. However, when I do go out and if I time it just right, I’ll occasionally luck up on shows like World Cafe, American Routes, and Live From Here that offer audio performances.