Concerts before Corona

Tue. March 24, 2020 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

COVID-19 has hit the concert scene and things may never be the same again. Many shows and appearances have now been cancelled or rescheduled for the future after the Coronavius descended upon our country.

Musicians are still releasing new music, but how soon will they be able to take it out on the road? Only time will tell. The way we gather to listen to live music could drastically change. Venues may lower the numbers of people allowed in the future and our personal space may be even more threatened. People will be even more vigilant about their surroundings. Before this all happened, general admission tickeholders would get terrritorial when people would get too close or block their view. Can you imagine what it will be like now?

Singer Tove Lo recently had a sold out show at the Riviera Theatre when she brought her friend ALMA and her crew to the Windy City with the Sunshine Kitty Tour. The Swedish singer had fractured her ankle onstage previously, but instead of cancelling her tour, she sat on a throne the whole show.

The camped out crowd might have missed seeing some of her trademark dance moves, but they still jammed to her pop radio hits as she covered many of her tunes.

ALMA joined her onstage to sing "Bad as the Boys" which added to the mix.

Lo was planning on more US dates and a European leg to her tour in the summer, so we will see how that works out. In the meantime, heal that leg for your fans!

Another outstanding live performance happend in Chicago a week later with Saint Motel. The LA band had one of the most dynamic performances that was barely contained at The Vic Theatre space. Video screens covered the stage synched to the music. It was visually mesmerizing and complimented the strong catalogue of work from the band. Highlights included singer A.J. Jackson riding an inflatable boat out in the crowd and a stellar rendition of their single "My Type" where he climbed into the balcony. This band needs to graduate to stadiums as they are definitely ready for the big time.

With this break from live shows in Chicago, I hope that owners of concert venues will take time to heal their buildings. Most of the older concert halls are just being run into the ground as show after show is booked.

The Riv has huge sight problems when a show sells out because the back of the room cannot see with areas blocked and the balcony usually fills up to capacity.

The Congress Theater still suffers delays on its renovations that began five years ago foolwing code violations.

The Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom could use a facelift with the backstage areas really not being presentable for visitors. There's plenty of space, but it needs work and money put into it.

Park West could easily be restored with new carpet and tapestries.

Newer venues like Lincoln Hall, Thalia Hall and Sleeping Village are examples of how it should be done in terms of vision and maintenance.

Safety and cleanliness can all be improved in the Chicago area for concert hallls. This is certainly the time to reassess and make it happen.