London’s O2 Arena came alive with the sound of music with the first live music event at the venue since the 20,000 seat arena had to close.
DJ Pete Tong, along with the Heritage Orchestra and Jules Buckley came together for the rather unique live-streamed event fittingly titled Oh Come All Ye Ravers.
The DJ for Radio One, an important figure in the world of dance music promos, stated his goal was to put on a show for people even though tours and shows have been seriously affected throughout 2020.
He teamed up with the Heritage Orchestra, a unique ensemble that plays orchestral versions of Ibiza staples to play a show to an audience of zero people in the arena but thousands who watched from home.
What was unique about the one night only show is that the extra available space allows for a greater focus on the performance aspect of the show. Lasers, light shows and other visuals were the stars of the show to bring a distanced audience closer and make the most of the situation.
It also allows the annual Ibiza Classics show tradition to continue, albeit in the most bizarre circumstances possible.
What is unique is that it provides a potential option, albeit a somewhat risky one, to allow for shows to continue in empty venues, live-streamed to an eager audience.
The Livestreamed Concert
The year 2020 saw many attempts to adopt live streaming and hybrid events technology to allow for music performances and some degree of engagement.
Most of these were socially distant concerts and jam sessions performed by artists often hundreds of miles away from each other and communicating and collaborating via video call.
DJs have performed live-streamed sets on streaming platforms or focused on studio production as opposed to a live music scene, working to get music out there in as safe a fashion as possible.
Streaming technologies and infrastructures are at a level where it is affordable to a wider range of artists, musicians and producers.
Broadcast quality cameras are becoming increasingly cheaper, and live streaming technology is available for free or at a very low cost depending on which system is used.
Whilst it is unlikely that this will be attempted at the scale of Pete Tong’s event, there is the potential for gig venues that are currently closed to offer live-streamed events and shows, allowing audiences to see live music, albeit socially distanced.
The Pete Tong show serves as a litmus test for the overall potential viability of particularly special live shows being streamed to a potentially much larger audience.
Some considerations need to be made before this approach becomes widely adopted. The first is that very few are going to attempt this with an arena the size of the O2 without significant investment.
As well as this, there is the concern that this type of show would primarily suit one-off special shows, much like the cinema showing of concerts such as the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert and Led Zeppelin’s subsequent theatrical release of the live show Celebration Day.