Livestreamed concerts are better than no concerts at all, but, let’s face it, they’re nothing like the real thing. As the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl put it recently, “the coronavirus pandemic has reduced today’s live music to unflattering little windows that look like doorbell security footage and sound like Neil Armstrong’s distorted transmissions from the moon.”
Like so many of us, Grohl, who was planning to play a show for 80,000 outside D.C. this Fourth of July to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his band’s debut album, is longing for the return of real live shows. But, though outdoor restaurants may open as early as this Friday, the summer concert season is still a distant dream. As our Culture reporter Erin O’Hare writes, even if and when local venues are allowed to reopen, who can imagine a socially distant rock show? The closeness—the sweaty, ecstatic, singing at the top of your lungs, jumping arm in arm with strangers closeness—is the point.
So this week, we’re reveling in reminiscence. Our call for your favorite Charlottesville concert memory yielded dozens of stories, from legendary, now-shuttered venues like Trax and Tokyo Rose, to more recent shows at the Jefferson and the Pavilion.
Two months into social distancing, it’s become clear that we can’t just wait this virus out—it’s going to be here for a long time, and we had better find ways to live with it while staying safe. So whether it’s drive-in concerts, or theater seats six feet apart, I’m hopeful that we’ll come up with creative ways of experiencing art that can bring some solace in this uncharted time. In the meantime, I’ll keep pulling out my old records.