Interesting story out of Denmark about a Mads Langer concert (apparently he’s big there) that was done with people watching from their cars. According to the LA Times, the odd show was put together in less than a week, 500 tickets were sold and the social distance-compliant concert went off without a hitch.

But watching a live show through your windshield and not getting out of your car? The sound came in through an FM channel on your vehicle so this was very much like just listening to iTunes but the performer was in front of you. That’s the same way sound is delivered in the few remaining drive-in movies in the country and that’s basically what this is. A drive-in movie format but for a live concert.

Does it make sense? Could it work in some limited way in New Jersey? I doubt it. First of all the space this would take for vehicles would limit ticket sales thus limit the financial reward for more popular artists who command top dollar. Would they do it just to be nice? Maybe.

But even for an artist part of the allure of performing live is the energy they draw off the crowd. If the whole point of this is social distancing I assume car windows will be rolled up, so imagine at the end of every song hearing no cheers or applause. What are they going to do, honk their horns? Flash lights? Maybe. But it’s weird.

And the communal experience of a concert is lost in this setting. Drive-in movies make sense. A movie has always been more of an intimate medium even if watching in a crowd. Watching a movie from your car can actually have benefits; no strangers talking, no cell phones glowing. But a concert is about the energy and the shared experience, and you’ll have none of that this way.

Drive-in movies dominated New Jersey in the past, and they’d be welcome again now as a safe way to have some entertainment. But this format doesn’t translate well to concerts. I think we’ll all just wait for this to be over before catching live shows again. And when it finally happens and we can join together in a huge crowd as those lights come on and those first notes explode across us, imagine the communal, roaring cheers. Like victory. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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