What was the last concert you attended?
Whatever it was, it was likely quite a while ago, but it is just as likely that you still remember the rush in your chest as your favorite band ran onto the stage; or the tears in your eyes as the orchestra struck the first chord of a beautiful symphony; or the burning in your throat after an entire night of screaming “I love you” to the attractive singer bathed in lights. Whichever experience you most recently had, you probably miss that night and others like it, and you are certainly not alone. The musicians themselves have been craving live performances since the COVID-19 quarantine was enacted. Luckily for them and for us, though, the pandemic has not put a stop to live concerts altogether – it has simply sent them home.
Composer and musician Gary Stockdale has written several television themes over the years, including the 1990s sitcom “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and Showtime’s “Penn & Teller: BULLSH*T!” He has released his own albums such as “Sure of Mice Elf” and “Keep Letting Go.” In more recent years Stockdale had been playing his own music live, sometimes local and sometimes on tour. He had also appeared as a guest musician on a few livestreams, but since Mar. 24, 2020, that has been his full-time job. Every Tuesday night (with his wife Danelle working the camera) Stockdale sets up his guitar and keyboard at 5:30 pm (PDT) from his Los Angeles home to bring his viewers covers of songs as well as his own original works. He also provides backstories for most – if not all – of the songs he performs.
Stockdale stated that the most enriching part of this experience has been connecting with his audience directly. “These are real artist-to-fan direct interactions: no middle man,” he said.
As far as musicians who have not been livestreaming but have considered doing so, Stockdale advises them to “just start doing them.” Social media makes the entire experience easier, including publicizing the shows. Even without professional equipment, it is something that any performer can do. “You’re unlikely to become a millionaire streaming from your bedroom studio,” Stockdale said, “but people are making money doing it, and even if not, they’re having a lot of fun, and spreading a lot of joy in these tough times.”
Gary Stockdale’s shows are frequent and easily accessible, but he is certainly not the only musician to stream live, at-home concerts since the pandemic started. Many known and indie artists including David Wilcox, Anberlin, Tupperware Remix Party, Weekend ComeBack and Grant-Lee Phillips can be found streaming on Facebook and Twitch, but other platforms such as YouTube, Veeps and StageIt are also available to aspiring musical streamers. As far as Facebook streamers, Stockdale recommends Mary Gauthier and Dan Navarro.
With thanks to social media and decent internet connections, live concerts are still available for musicians to perform and fans to enjoy during our time in quarantine. While it is not quite the same as an in-person concert, there is something very personal about the experience of watching a live performer in your home. There is a certain excitement in typing comments during your favorite songs and sharing the link with your friends so that they may watch with you from an entirely different location. Such concerts tend to create a sense of community that is unique but still recalls the wonderful feeling of cheering along with a crowd.
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