Photo Credit to Glass Animals Facebook Article by Stephanie Escobar
Concerts have been something that many have been missing throughout 2020. The music industry itself has suffered as the pandemic caused many artists to put their tours at a pause or cancel them altogether. A time when venues and arenas are not a safe space to congregate, musicians and artist have had to get creative to bring live music to their fans. Whether it be by hosting drive-in concerts to maintain a safe social distance or going completely virtual, it has been a transition for many.
Glass Animals is one of the bands who was impacted by the pandemic ahead of the release of their newest album “Dreamland”. Having to push back the release of their album and cancel their tour really put a strain on how they would give fans the “Dreamland” experience. Despite the obstacles frontman Dave Bayley kept active online releasing covers and open-source content for fans to interact with. With the release of “Dreamland” it was a bummer that this album wouldn’t be played live for a while, but Glass Animals came through announcing a virtual concert for fans.
Fans were able to purchase a “ticket” where you’d receive your exclusive code to enter the stream to enjoy the show and get access to a few other perks including merch, an open-source maze, and a chat. I had seen some virtual shows by other artists that just live-streamed online at no cost so when I purchased their ticket I was excited to see what was to come. It’s definitely a different level of excitement compared to getting ready for a show and physically leaving to the venue but either way, I was excited to hear live renditions of my favorite songs on “Dreamland”.
The Live Show:
Watching and experiencing this virtual show made me miss live shows so much, I couldn’t help but wonder how the energy of the crowd would be. Yet, when I say Glass Animals put on a spectacular virtual concert, I truly mean it. The ambience of being in a crowd was replaced by being in a virtual chat with other fans and honestly, it was just as if you were interacting with other fans in a crowd. The excitement for waiting for the headliner to get on stage was there.
They opened up with their song “Dreamland” showcasing Bayley dialing up his PC reminiscent to the days where AOL was a thing. The camera pans to a stage where the backdrop and the floor are big screens playing colorful visuals throughout the performance. As “Dreamland” is an album full of nostalgic memories about childhood, that theme of nostalgia was present throughout the entire show. From having visuals of childhood video games during “Season 2 Episode 3”, and having fans submit home videos from when they were children that played on the screens through “Youth”.
The virtual show featured some special moments during several songs one of them being during “Tangerine”. Being one of the songs that they’ve played live on TV during the James Corden late-night show it followed similar rhetoric through the message they sent about voting. Similar to the 3D tangerine they had on the late-night show resembling a similar political figure from the U.S (aka, the President of The United States), it was also featured during this virtual show but without the resemblance of the President. Instead, Bayley showcased himself mail-in voting having a prop mailbox to show how easy it is to vote. The virtual show also included two special features one being Arlo Parks who was featured on the new version of “Tangerine” and Denzel Curry who did his verse on “Tokyo Drifting” through an incoming call during the live show.
One of my favorite moments that got me a bit choked up was during “Heat Waves”. Bayley mentioned how this single was a love letter to live music when it was first released. During a time when we can’t be together, he wanted to bring a sense of community to the industry. During this song, the stage played what looked like a zoom call of fans and all of them dancing and singing along to “Heat Waves”. Even though there are some pros to not being in a crowd like having someone tall block your view or being surrounded by sweaty individuals, it is still a very special feeling when a whole crowd is singing back a song altogether in the same space. The energy that a physical crowd carries and engages with a band or artist is irreplaceable in my opinion.
Overall this virtual show was an experience like no other. The transitions throughout every song were seamless and probably one of my favorites was “Black Mambo” and it’s transition to “Hot Sugar”. Visually as the band described the show would be an audiovisual experience. The visuals served as painting throughout the stage making every song exciting not just to listen to but to watch the band perform. As the show finished the band ended with a few throwbacks including “Gooey” and “Pork Soda” two fan favorites which you could definitely see when the chat blew up and went crazy.
This being a whole new way of consuming live music and adjusting to the different experience, it is still an experience I’ll definitely remember during a time filled with uncertainties. Yet, I also can’t wait for the day when we all get to reunite with our favorite bands and musicians and live through those live shows once again.Bayley reminded fans at the end of the show that one day we will reunite once again.
All pictures were taken using the Dispo app.