I can’t believe I’m writing it, but live music is back. A void that saw no finish line just started to see the light again. Indeed, it’s a thrill to witness venues open up, concerts sell out, and artists take the stage once more.
After having to adapt in many ways to keep music alive, the hurdles don’t stop by returning to live shows. While the pandemic remains an unprecedented challenge, it’s an emotional switchback.
Step by step, live music is returning
After over a year of singing “live” on Instagram, there are few words to describe the feeling of hearing claps echo in the room rather than seeing that little emoji pop up on the corner of the Zoom screen.
Granted, the first few shows performed to crowds full of masked faces could qualify as somewhat troubling. But then already, something about human presence is simply irreplaceable, especially after so much silence.
In those moments, gratitude overcomes any sense of frustration. The frustration of not seeing those smiles, the audience’s mouths singing the words along.
And thankfully that little bit of impatience and longing remaining didn’t have to last long. As anticipated as it was, the switch back to approximate “normalcy” happened rather overwhelmingly fast.
When venues open up
I can’t fathom what it must feel like to stand back on the stage of a sold-out arena with each audience member singing the words back to you.
I could hardly imagine it before COVID-19, so forget the thrill of returning to it after over a year of quiet. It’s humbling to see so many artists across the world as excited to be back in front of their fans as the fans are. The fact that venues are opening up is great for everyone.
This return emphasizes the nature of those events and why we love them. The magic at the essence of live music. Why they’re so special and why we need them. It has also served to highlight the challenges behind them, some of which we might have overlooked in the face of the gravity of this past year.
Christina Aguilera reminded us that as much as a concert may look like a one-man show, it still takes a village (more so than when you were performing through your phone).
The pandemic is not over
In spite of mask-less crowds, there are still many things to be accounted for with regards to the pandemic. As if performing a show every night wasn’t enough of a challenge before, capacity regulations have led artists to perform the same show twice in one night.
Regardless, the optimism and gratitude among artists is an endearing thing. We’re all recognizing it’s time to sing our hearts more than ever before, after so much angst kept inside. You’re not projecting to your screen anymore, you’re singing to dozens, hundreds, thousands of people.
It’s part challenge, for stepping out of the shell again, and part relief after being put on hold for so long.
Returning live music is a rollercoaster
Amidst the emotions themselves, the beauty of being back to work in person, the world is still full of surprises.
As if this year wasn’t enough of a rollercoaster, the mythical Montreux Jazz Festival was compromised by the weather. We’ve taken enough heartbreak and deception recently that it’s hard to believe rain would stop anything from happening.
But with the climate crisis reaching frightening heights of its own, the weather did indeed cause havoc over the past couple of weeks.
However, after overcoming what we did, artists’ perseverance and persistence proved to be stronger than ever. Take Sam Fischer, who within two hours saw his show canceled, reinstated, and then postponed by two hours, to finally get on stage after midnight.
As he waited for news on whether he’d perform that night or not, the singer took to Instagram with an endearing post, that further reminded us there are things we can’t control… but that music still prevails.
Artists performing live are here to stay
Indeed, it’s crazy to think that during the hardest of times we didn’t really have the one thing that best helps us escape hurt, pain, or loneliness.
Many artists are to thank for their creativity and ability to keep their magic alive in spite of it all. But being back only further proves that the digital realm just doesn’t compare especially when it comes to music. Venues need to open for the real magic to take place.
It’s not a done deal, and unfortunately, many places are still struggling. However, we’re here to fight, and we’re here to stay, because as much as it may be a luxury, live music is a necessity. It makes us feel alive. And the magic of being back live is something everyone can rally behind.