Blues/Country Rocker Travis McCready Played the First ‘Pandemic Concert’ in the U.S. This Week, and it Was a Bit Surreal


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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On Monday night, blues/country rocker Travis McCready of the band Bishop Gunn played a live concert in front of fans at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

In the era before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, that previous sentence wouldn’t have read like anything special — but in light of the pandemic and how there have been no actual live concerts in front of fans for months, it’s definitely a big moment.

The concert almost didn’t happen, after the state revoked the venue’s liquor license and the Department of Health issued a cease-and-desist order to prevent the show from happening prior to the state’s reopening procedures, but it did take place — with strict regulations on how it would go down:

For the show, the venue’s capacity was limited to just over 200, everybody was required to wear a mask, bathroom occupancy was limited and temperatures were taken at the front door.

There were also clearly social distancing measures in place, as well:

Music fans the world over want to know when we can get back to “normal” in terms of live concerts. When can we pack venues to the gills and rock out with our favorite acts again?

Dave Grohl even penned a heartfelt letter recently, gushing about the magnetism and power of live music (from the performer’s perspective and the point of view of those in attendance), illustrating how strongly we all yearn for its (safe) return.

As Monday’s Travis McCready gig demonstrated, it does seem possible to invest in this idea of a “socially distant concert” — which Live Nation is doing right now, as a matter of fact, in hopes of finding a way to resume live music during the pandemic.

Of course, there will inevitably be some who ruffle at the concept of being forced to wear face coverings and adhere to stringent rules regarding any further “pandemic concerts” like that of Travis McCready earlier this week.

The alternative, at least for the time being, would be no concerts at all.

With that in mind, let’s all do the best we can to make it work, OK?


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