There’s nothing like seeing your favorite artist in person — except, maybe, seeing them in a virtual concert. It’s not like watching a concert that’s simply been recorded. It’s intentional, it’s an experience, and most importantly, it’s distanced from potential COVID-19 exposure. Virtual concerts are nothing new, but because of the global pandemic, show producers are perfecting the art. How close can you get to the real thing from so far away? The answer is: pretty darn close.
When it came to the BTS Permission to Dance concert, Cal Poly student and outstanding roommate Makenna Kwik had to be there. Since she couldn’t really be there, she got a ticket to the livestream of one of their L.A. dates. It is thanks to Makenna that I was also able to attend my first virtual concert and witness the technological magic first-hand.
“I found out through social media that they were selling tickets for a livestream, and even though it was a kinda stupid amount of money for a livestream, I thought it was worth it,” concluded Kwik on the $45 purchase.
I was skeptical. Sitting in our apartment a couple hundred miles away from the action, how could I not be? But all that was quickly danced away was quickly danced away by the presence of BTS. The camera wasn’t static— it moved with the dancers the way no live audience member possibly could. And when there was a solo, we were right there, too. Members of the group even addressed the online viewers directly throughout the show, making us feel seen. In between songs, there were short, interconnected videos about a rainbow substance that makes people dance. Needless to say, we were entertained the entire time.
“Another thing that was cool was that it shows a bunch of different views and angles, so you’re not just confined to the view of one seat,” said Kwik. Even when the crowd was doing the wave — a crowd tradition made into an artistic spectacle here by the use of hand-held, color-changing light devices — we got a rotating view.
I began to think that virtual concerts might be just as good as the real thing. But truthfully, most bands aren’t like BTS, with dance numbers and a consistently energetic performance. With huge venues like this one, though, it seemed to work. Yes, the $45 price tag was an unholy amount, but you can split it amongst a group and have a watch party like we did.
“It was also very nice that I could watch it from the comfort of our living space and that I could share it with y’all even though not all of you guys are BTS fans,” said Kwik.
If you can’t get your hands on the tickets for a large concert like this (whether it’s sold out or because of COVID concerns) the livestream might be the next best thing. If the artist puts as much effort into the show as BTS managed to, it makes for a captivating, enrapturing performance that will have you forgetting you’re two feet away from your kitchen.
“So as you saw and as you heard my screaming, I had quite a fun time watching the BTS livestream,” Kwik concluded. “I would much rather want to be there in person, but this online streaming was way better than just hearing about it on social media.”
Sarah Cheyet writes for .WAV’s Content Team. She wrote the article. Gabriella Plue is on .WAV’s Art Team. She made the graphic