2020 brought in many challenges for touring musicians and so to cheer their fans, as well as to recollect that feeling of being on stage, many bands turned to live-streamed shows as a way of small comfort for both sides. Yet, live streams are nothing new at all. It’s mainly during the festival season when you can watch countless live-streamed shows and join the thousands of metalheads moshing in front of the stage of the famous Wacken Open Air, Hellfest or Graspop Metal Meeting. Adapting to the situation, many bands jumped on the board and aired their own shows last year. Let’s mention some of the most memorable ones that helped us get through 2020.
Swiss progressive folk trio Cellar Darling was among the first acts to play with an idea of doing a live stream in these difficult times. They were live-streaming their set right from the famous Soundfarm Studio in Switzerland.
2020 was a busy year for Melissa Bonny’s new band Ad Infinitum, indeed. In between releasing their debut album and its acoustic version, the band pre-recorded a full live show in Cologne that was later premiered via Youtube. The spectacular performance featured songs off of their debut and a short Q&A. And they totally killed it!
Finnish power metallers Battle Beast played an exclusive live-streamed gig at the legendary House Of Culture in Helsinki and invited their fans from all over the world to join them. Helsinki also hosted the album release show of cinematic metal act Dark Sarah. The band premiered some of the tracks off of their new concept record “Grim” and threw a few older hits into the setlist as well. Luckily, fans worldwide could have enjoyed the magic happening on stage through their screens, too.
Switzerland’s Illumishade also decided to share the album release show with people all over the world and songs from their debut “Eclyptic: Wake Of Shadows” turned out even more majestic. The same goes for Australia’s gothic act Victoria K and their enigmatic performance of their debut album “Essentia” in full. The show is now available as a DVD and digital album.
Not long after the pandemic struck, singer, vocal coach and manager Kiara Laetitia launched the first virtual female festival in history – Online Female Fest. The festival hosted two times Grammy-nominated Lacey Sturm, the founder and former lead vocalist of the rock band Flyleaf, Share Ross from Vixen, Season Of Ghosts, Linda Varg, opera singer Chiara Manese, DJ and influencer Ell’N’Rock and Anna Holtz from symphonic band Desdaemona. The good news is that the second edition of the festival is already in the works. As revealed by Kiara, the festival will be held in not one but two days and will be hosting singers we all love. There will be available different types of tickets for a full VIP experience, so stay tuned!
Speaking of virtual festivals, some of the major heavy festivals based in Europe joined forces for a special three-day streaming event under the name European Metal Festival Alliance with behind the scenes, interviews and live shows by 35+ bands including Battle Beast, Butcher Babies, Unleash the Archers, Venom Prison, Spoil Engine and more. And we also need to mention Tohuwabohu festival with amazing performances from Cellar Darling, Illumishade, Kassogtha and more.
In April, Russian symphonic metallers Imperial Age broadcasted a 3-hour long show from the locked-down Moscow watched by 38 00 fans from all continents. Imperial Age played 21 songs, including two new pieces from their upcoming album “New World”, and answered some of the questions that the fans were posting via the online chat in real-time in between the tracks. The performance was later released as a live DVD/Blu-ray under the title “Live On Earth”.
In September, Italian gothfathers invaded the Alcatraz Club in their hometown Milan for an exclusive “Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse” show. The set featured a full performance of their latest album “Black Anima” for the very first time, including songs never performed live, and a bonus backstage material.
Nothing could’ve stopped Ukrainian force Jinjer from delivering as many live shows as possible last year. And when there was an opportunity, they live-streamed them too. Besides that, they also broadcasted the complete performance taken from their new live album/DVD “Alive In Melbourne”.
Being unable to perform her traditional Christmas shows last year, Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen was forced to come with a back-up plan and go digital instead. Tarja broadcasted two “Christmas Together” shows based in songs from her dark Christmas album “From Spirits And Ghosts”, as well as some beloved classics in a very intimate setup.
There were also some drive-in shows played in 2020. As a part of a series of the drive-in and social distancing shows, German heavy metal queen Doro also connected with her fans digitally and broadcasted her set, including bonus videos and behind the scenes clips.
Besides playing a couple of drive-in album release shows, German symphonic metal stars Beyond The Black also took part in Wacken Open Air’s unique online event Wacken World Wide using mixed reality technology. New “Horizons” songs but also the golden hits were played that night with thousands of fans tuning in from all over the world.
Unfortunately, it seems like the trend of 2020 is about to continue this year as well. One of the most special virtual shows for 2021 has already been announced by the symphonic metal giants Nightwish. On May 28-29th, Nightwish will perform songs from their latest album ”Human. :II: Nature” live for the first time at The Islanders Arms, a tavern built-in virtual reality. This will be a full-length live experience with different sets both nights. Members of the audience will be able to create avatars, react by gestures, cheers or emojis, and chat with other fans, as well as dress up their avatar with Nightwish merchandise.
Hopefully, the things will get back to normal and we’ll be screaming our lungs out in front of actual stages asap. Let us know what were some of your favourite live-streamed shows and what do you miss about concerts the most.