Opinion | Virtual concerts beat sound of silence


Photo Courtesy of Wallpaper Flare

A mean wearing headphones uses his computer.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Playing acoustic guitar gives me joy. Listening to recorded music moves me in ways I can’t describe. But going to live concerts makes me feel alive.

Now, I can’t even do that. No one can.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all types of public events have been either cancelled or postponed, including concerts. But that hasn’t stopped some music artists to still play live music for fans. 

In the last few weeks, Americans have watched televised concerts from the comfort of their homes. These performances have been heartwarming, nostalgic and intimate. They’re nothing like an actual concert, but virtual performances are certainly better than no concert at all.

A few weeks ago, an event called “Global Citizen” premiered worldwide in support of healthcare workers and first responders, showcasing performances from some of today’s biggest artists like Lady Gaga, Elton John, Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney. It was a heartwarming experience to watch such big name artists perform for people who would otherwise not see these artists live in concert during these strange times.

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ABC also presented Americans across the country with a primetime event called “The Disney Family Singalong,” which featured artists like Christina Aguilera, Thomas Rhett and Ariana Grande. From the comfort of their homes, they each gave audiences an outstanding and quite magical performance. These artists and many others sang Disney classics like “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast,” “You Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story” and “I Wanna Be Like You” from “The Jungle Book.” 

The hour-long special ended with a bang which made the show all worth watching. Introduced by Zac Efron himself and the trilogy’s director Kenny Ortega, the original cast from “High School Musical” performed an acoustic version of “We’re All In This Together.” Not only did the performance make my family and I singalong, but I felt like a Wildcat once again.

A couple weeks ago, CBS presented Americans with a virtual concert of their own called “Our Country” which featured today’s country artists like Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Little Big Town singing their songs from their homes. As a country fan, it was a fresh breath of relief to hear some of my favorite artists live once again.

Besides television, countless artists across all genres have taken to their social media accounts playing live shows. This type of virtual concert makes the experience much more intimate to listeners. Ironically, the experience feels up close and personal. It’s not standing first row at a concert by any means, but during these unprecedented times, it works.

Using Instagram, country artists like Luke Combs and Jake Owen have given private concerts for fans around the world. Because they are performing on either Instagram or Facebook live, Combs, Owen and Plain White T’s frontman Tom Higgenson are taking requests from listeners which tailor the event to their fans. These artists and many others are even showcasing new songs and covers of other well-known tunes.

When the pandemic ends, whenever that may be, I cannot wait to attend live concerts again above anything else. I want the feeling of holding cardboard concert tickets, waiting hours in line to stand first row and sometimes even meeting the artist themselves. 

President Theodore Roosvelt said it best: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Through the power of music, world-renowned artists are taking time out of their lives to give us fans and music lovers the chance to hear live music once again.

And we couldn’t be more thankful for them.

Noah is a sophomore in the College of Media.

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