In the wake of the pandemic, socially distanced gigs have emerged as the norm — that’s if and where live music has been viable. And so far, being seated for the show doesn’t seem to have put too many people off — it appears more of a low-key theatrical affair than a mosh-until-you-twist-an-ankle frenzy.
While I haven’t had the chance to check out any socially distanced gigs myself, I’m not against them. Having said that, being in the thick of a crowd did — and still does — have its appeal. There’s something oddly endearing about knowing half a pint might get sloshed over your shoulder as someone muscles past. How’s it even possible that you can almost long for that otherwise frustrating moment? Even sizeable bar or toilet queues wouldn’t even be off-putting at this point.
Before Coronavirus took hold of the nation, it’s fair to say that seating wasn’t ‘cool’. Even at an arena tour with the option of sitting, being amid the hustle and bustle of a big crowd was part of the perks. I’m a massive advocate of intimate gigs in small venues and being among a group of similarly-minded folk was also a draw. But, for some people, the idea of being seated in a laid-back fashion and enjoying an artist play ahead of you might be one they relish. Leaving without an aching back or legs does sound nice, actually.
If you look at gigs from across the decades, rockers in the 1970s and ‘80s would’ve always been standing, ready to jump around. That goes for the ravers who went out to support DJs.
Back then, groups of music fans might’ve been a bit more distinct. These days, an outfit mishmash of anything such as sportswear, fine jewellery and thick-soled Dr. Martens can be standard and will throw off the old telling signs of how that person musically identifies. Soul, jazz, rock, punk, folk, grunge — you name it, they might like all of it. Regardless of the gig’s genre, people somehow all want to mosh. But the diversity was a key element of what made it so great, and you could even meet new people at gigs. Now, thanks to two-metre distances and virus-safe procedures, you couldn’t even dream of that stuff.
I’m hoping to make it to gigs again just as soon as we can. I’d rather enjoy the full experience that we used to have, but I’d take a seat for the right artist. We’ll just have to bench all other expectations for a bit longer…