By Samir Shukla
The punishment is too much to bear. When you breathe music, you can only hold your breath so long when the music has been silenced. One of my prime enjoyments in life is live music. Yes, we can listen to music anytime, especially in the contemporary era where phones also serve as music players. Music enhances life. Music is not the only thing that can do this, of course, but it is the only true universal language.
Music performed live is a slice of life itself. The pandemic has postponed or cancelled live music events, small and large. All of them. In a sense, music has been pushed silent.
We can watch recorded live concerts. Many musicians are also doing virtual gigs, sitting in front of their laptops or phones and transmitting via various channels. It is a valiant effort, and I watch them and try to support them, but it just isn't the same as live shows in front of an audience. The gathered crowd becoming one while music permeates the air.
This distancing madness began with a drip and then the deluge of postponements and cancellations arrived, raging through the floodgates. Small venues to stadiums, home concerts to SXSW and Coachella, all dropped the news that they were cancelling or postponing events to either later in the year or next year. Summer festivals are in limbo. This, of course, also happened with sporting, theater, and other large gathering events.
I await the opening, ever so small at first, of bands, orchestras and musicians straddling stages, making music, making life. That is the effort now, to crack open the stages and live performance venues while dealing with the bug.
I have some hope for the warm summer sun, giving opportunities for outdoor concerts, with controlled, small crowds taking necessary precautions. Funds generated can support musicians, sound tech people, even venues that are currently shuttered, awaiting the possibility to reopen.
In summer, there is nothing like an outdoor concert on a warm, clear evening.
Clubs, theaters, stadiums, and other venues are hopeful and have booked concerts later in the summer and onwards. But no one knows if any outbursts of the bug may shut them down again for a while.
I understand the common sense approach, the only solution we have now, in banning large gatherings to get the bug under control. Ah, but we crave connections. That is the challenge of the moment.
In the meantime, I await the strum of the guitar, the scats of drums, the sensuality of a saxophone, the caress of a human voice. Presented live, the gathered brethren swaying in unison.
See you at a show, in a near, sunnier future.