Are Online Concerts Worth It?

If you’d had told me I’d be able to watch one of my favorite artists perform a virtual concert with no in-person audience last year, I wouldn’t have believed it. 

Gus Dapperton, in collaboration with Zerospace, held a virtual concert a week after his sophomore album debuted. Presale for the tickets started on September 15 for some fans and ended the next day. Tickets were $10 for fan club members, and day of show tickets were $20. 

Screen recording of Gus Dapperton performing at Zerospace. Screen capture taken by Alex Leisenfelder. Credit to Gus Dapperton & Veeps.

I went into the concert, not expecting much. I thought it would be a casual performance, similar to how NPR Tiny Desk hosts their infamous shows. Maybe they’d play a few songs off the new album, and that’d be it. I was wrong.

The pre-concert excitement was still there. You’d think attending a virtual event would be lackluster, but it wasn’t. Viewers were able to join the stream early and many created conversations in the chat. 

Questions soared through the chat with responses from other concert-goers. What state are you in? What’s your favorite song by him? Can you do my AP history homework?

Screen recording of Gus Dapperton performing at Zerospace. Screen capture taken by Alex Leisenfelder. Credit to Gus Dapperton & Veeps.

Some took shots together. Others traded Snapchat and Instagram names with one another. A few even created a fan server for Gus Dapperton on the community-oriented platform Discord. 

It felt like you were in-person waiting in line to enter the venue for a show. There was a sense of community through a browser. People were making friends and having fun conversations through the live stream chat. 

The chat started getting hectic the closer it got to showtime. Just like any in-person show, this one started a few minutes late too. 

The stream started with a camera pointed at a fan on the wall. Final adjustments were heard by viewers as small “Are we live?” questions from venue workers were caught on the mic, and then it was showtime. 

Screen recording of Gus Dapperton performing at Zerospace. Screen capture taken by Alex Leisenfelder. Credit to Gus Dapperton & Veeps.

It was magical. I haven’t seen a live performance in years and forgot how exciting and fun they could be, regardless of if the concert was online or in person. 

Dapperton ran from the stage to various parts of the venue that were set up with extraordinary lights that perfectly fit the character and theme of his music. 

You could tell how excited he was to be performing for fans. The energy was palpable even through a computer screen. He only rested while switching between songs requiring him to play his guitar.

I was hoping the show would never end, but like all good things, it had to. The concert lasted for roughly an hour, and Dapperton was able to play fan favorites from his discography.  The singer and his band even performed some new songs from his latest album, Orca. Fans were spamming the chat with “encore,” but did not receive it. 

Overall this concert was one of the best things I’ve experienced so far in this unusual year. It’s safe to say that online shows are a hit, and I can see myself “attending” more of them in the future. 

Screen recording of Gus Dapperton performing at Zerospace. Screen capture taken by Alex Leisenfelder. Credit to Gus Dapperton & Veeps.

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