Music News: Ready or not, live concerts are starting to come back


The Current Music News for May 22, 2020 (MPR Video)

This video of a packed rock concert in Tel Aviv looks like one of those shots that makes you nostalgic for life before the coronavirus pandemic...but in fact, it was taken just last night. 5,000 people attended the beachfront concert by several of Israel's biggest stars, and organizers tried to ensure that attendees followed social distancing. Would you feel safe at this show right now? (Times of Israel)

It's been almost a week now since Travis McCready played an Arkansas concert that was closely watched by national press and tightly policed to ensure strict social distancing and hygiene standards. A couple hundred people, in a venue that normally holds over a thousand, went and said they had a good time. (New York Times)

So live music is coming back...and depending on where you live, it may be coming back sooner than you thought. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that there are over 150 concerts over this Memorial Day weekend in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court overturned the governor's stay-at-home order. There won't be shows in the big cities, but small-town bars are bringing the bands back and doing what they can to keep customers safe. Musicians, bar owners, and fans say they're excited, but they also admit to being pretty nervous. Waukesha singer-songwriter Alyssia Dominguez, who's playing Gordy's Boat House, says, "I am a little hesitant...but I have to make a living at the same time."

Chances are, if you've seen any live-in-person music in the past several weeks, it's been out in the open in your own neighborhood. Musicians across the country have been giving front-porch concerts, sometimes streaming them online as well — like Josh Daniel, in Charlotte, N.C. (WBTV) The duo Chatham Rabbits, also from North Carolina, have embarked on what they call a "Stay at Home Tour," where they play from the bed of a trailer pulled behind a van. As they put it, "We do the driving and playing, you do the listening and the porch sittin'."

Then there's the scenario where you do the in, going to the show and staying in your car during the performance, like a drive-in movie. We've talked about the drive-in raves happening in Germany, and drive-in concerts are being planned for lots of American cities this summer. There's a "Road Rave" hitting Phoenix and Orlando, and the Black Jacket Symphony will be covering classic albums front-to-back for drive-in audiences in Alabama. The Texas Rangers are hosting concerts in a lot near their ballpark, and Yankee Stadium is working on a plan to host drive-in concerts with New York musicians and street food vendors. (AXS, CBS)

We'll leave you with an image of how one bar is trying to help attendees keep their distance. Invented by a company called Revolution Event, these "bumper tables" are rolling into a bar in Ocean City, Maryland. Try to imagine using these to watch a show. Is this our future? Who knows. (WMMR)

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