In a time of social isolation, virtual concerts are a blessing in disguise


Graphic by Evelyn Shue

During the age of COVID-19, virtual concerts provide a great alternative to live performances.

Helina Tamiru, Opinions Writer

After eagerly standing in line, you finally crowd into a bustling venue. Adrenaline rushes through your veins and as a pumping bass fills the arena, you know your favorite artist is about to take the stage. Concerts have always been a hallmark of the teenage experience and a way to connect with popular entertainers, but attending a live show during the COVID-19 era looks drastically different. Concert-going is just another beloved pastime that has been forced behind a screen due to the pandemic.

Though in-person shows may be out of the question, with technological alternatives the magical experience can still be preserved. Stripping live entertainment from fans is unfortunate, however, many musicians rightfully took their performances to live stream platforms. This allows fans to get a thrill without the danger of infection.

The largest concern when it comes to these pixelated performances is whether they can compare to their on-stage counterparts. Laggy connections and mediocre sets could be cause for boredom and an unpleasurable experience. However, the slew of virtual concerts in 2020 has proved that with dazzling special effects, synchronized background dancers and powerful vocals, they are far from lackluster.

On Nov. 27, British singer Dua Lipa’s “Studio 2054” program aired on the platform, Live-Now. She gave five million fans a disco-themed production with special guests, a club-like set and massive props. According to The Rolling Stones, the intricate performance cost Lipa $1.5 million and took months of planning. The dedication paid off as fans were captivated, proving concerts can be just as sensational online as they are in person.

Nevertheless, these shows do not need to have strobe lights and fireworks to be entertaining. Many artists are taking a more subtle approach, performing in their homes, making them more relatable to the struggles of fans. These informal concerts are hardly dull as a casual setting allows for a more intimate bond between the musician and listener. Artists are humanized and barriers are broken as singers expose a more vulnerable side of themselves, nothing like a chaotic venue swarming with fanatics.

Regardless of the filmed setting, fans should happily continue to attend virtual concerts because they offer a safe escape from the dreadful realities of quarantine. After spending months in lockdown, joining an online concert gives back a sense of normalcy that was so dearly missed. “[Virtual concerts] bring joy to many when hearing great music from their favorite artists,” junior David Sahakian said.

In a time where emotional contact is vital, building new relationships is close to impossible due to quarantine guidelines. Before COVID-19, concerts provided the perfect opportunity for fans to build a sense of camaraderie with one another. Now, fans can still form those same bonds over their favorite artists through live chat rooms, mimicking the arena environment.

However, even with the U.S. surpassing 530,000 COVID-19 related deaths, some musicians have returned to their typical shows. “As long as they meet the criteria safety-wise, like making sure the fans that are in attendance for the concert are safely distanced, always wearing masks, and perhaps even requiring negative tests […] I don’t mind a limited number of fans,” chemistry teacher Akshay Gandhi said.

Unfortunately, these necessary precautions became mere suggestions at The Chainsmokers drive-in concert last summer. The mask-wearing and social distancing requirements were quickly disregarded as fans were seen practicing neither. The band promised a “safe” show, though this was not the case as the regulations from the Center for Disease Control were utterly ignored.

An astonishing 2,000 fans and their families were put at grave risk due to the irresponsibility of both hosts and attendees. “It is a really dangerous time and it’s pretty selfish to go to a concert right now,” freshman Maya Zakahani said. To ensure the safety of yourselves and your communities, virtual concerts are the route to take for live music.

These dire times do not mean life must be a dreadful prison of solitude. Virtual concerts are more than just a safe alternative, providing exhilarating, quality entertainment in the comfort of your own home. The reality is you can either catch COVID-19 and risk the lives of your loved ones or safely attend a thrilling show online; the choice is clear.