Digital concerts can never replace the energy of live concerts. Law? And as Delhi-NCR-based bands cautiously resume their stage performances after the pandemic, performing to a live audience, they couldn’t agree more.
‘Selfie, but with mask’
“How can I sing with the mask? Â»Laughs Salman, singer of the group Astitva. He says the entertainment industry has been âthe most affectedâ by the Covid-19 pandemic. As the live performances resume with disinfectants and gloves, he shares, âAlthough public concerts and paid concerts are few, we do perform at private gatherings, under guidance from Covid. Most of the public concerts have taken place in Udaipur, Jaipur, Goa and Jodhpur. After all the negativity Covid has given the world, the resumption of concerts and public gatherings is actually a positive sign that all of us artists have been looking forward to. And die-hard Salman-Zaman fans always want a selfie, with masks on, of course. We love to go on stage and perform for people and give them happy memories. But now we’re really happy that the concerts are going slowly and steadily. And we look forward to each of our performances, whether it’s a small gathering or a public concert. “
“Having the audience nearby was a bit scary”
Hari and Sukhmani, who started performing in 2020, believe the resumption of performances came with its fair share of mixed feelings – a bit of excitement and a bit of fear of the unknown. They have performed in five star hotels, wedding venues in Chattarpur, and residences there. âUsually we fly quite a bit. But taking a flight after so long and for the first time in the Covid era has been quite an experience. There is the travel experience, and whether or not you feel comfortable staying and eating in a hotel or restaurant. And on stage without our masks, having the audience nearby was a bit scary at first. But we’ve done our best to approach everything with logic, common sense, and a lot of positivity. Thanks to our management team, every precaution was taken before and during the performances. The disinfection of the equipment we use has also been carried out, âexplains singer Sukhmani Malik.
âPeople have certainly asked us for photos without a mask. It becomes very difficult to refuse a fan who comes with such happiness in their eyes. Initially, I quickly took off my mask (held my breath) and took this photo. But later I realized it was a bad idea. So now the photos are with masks only, or no photos. In most cases, people get it. Thank goodness for that, âshe adds.
“The distance between the group and the audience will be six to eight feet”
Popular group Indian Ocean, which has been part of several e-concerts lately, has scheduled a number of live concerts in Delhi-NCR. Group member Himanshu Joshi says: âOn the ground, we played Bhopal. It was a drive-in theater where the audience was in the car, and each car had a speaker. But once we started playing, people got out of the cars and gathered near the stage. We have a request for March for a university festival in Delhi. For live concerts we will have a small audience and all security protocols will be followed. The distance between the group and the audience will be six to eight feet. I am very careful, and so are the others. We will put on the mask before and after the concert. Mikes, the stand will be disinfected. We also wear all of our in-ear headphones. The temperature of each crew member will be taken, we can not do without. We thought e-concerts were the way to go. But there are two ways of looking at it. When someone watches an e-concert, how many wear professional headphones? We watch it either by phone or by tab. The excitement of watching him on stage … woh baat aati nahin hai.
“We were like a excited family who got back together after years”
âWe came back on stage after exactly 11 months. We took the stage at Lost Lemons in Gurugram and man, it was like our first time going on stage! It was a very emotional evening for us and the audience. We haven’t all known the live atmosphere for a long, long time. For a moment, I felt like it was all a dream. I had tears in my eyes and I almost fell off the stage in my nervousness, âsays Palash Sen, from the group Euphoria. âThe group wore our personalized Euphoria masks throughout the show, and since it was on the roof, adequate social distancing was maintained and everyone was screened at the entrance. Plus, I finally got my hair cut, because I was committed to having it cut when I got back on stage, âhe laughs.
The band had been rehearsing to perform live for quite some time now. âWe discussed our set on video calls and met in person a day before the show after performing our Covid tests. Also, being a fully live band, there are a lot of things we spontaneously do on stage. So the rehearsals were more about getting together, eating a lot of food, and sharing our experiences of lockdown, âSen adds.
“We are getting requests for DU festivals, so things are looking good”
Delhi-based band Rocknamaa had started performing live late last year, but initially performances only included the duo Shaheen and Vicky. âThe pandemic was difficult because there were no live events, so we had to turn to online sessions. Due to the restrictions related to Covid-19, we had resumed performing as a duo, as we had started. Lately we’ve started playing as a band again and it’s exhilarating. Most of our concerts were in Delhi, where people are now showing up in large numbers since the vaccine made it so much more comfortable. The organizers take all necessary safety measures and we wear masks at all times, except when we are on stage. Things are looking good as we have more performances planned and we are also getting requests for DU festivals, âShaheen said.