The performing arts have endured a year like no other, but the decimation of touring and in-person shows has in no way squelched music fans’ love of a live performance. And in many ways, the pandemic has yielded creative new ways for artists to engage with their listeners.
Since March 2020, for example, the wildly popular Instagram Live series Verzuz, created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, has recruited some of the biggest names in rap, hip-hop and R&B for nostalgia-driven battles. Highlighting their musical oeuvres and mimicking DJ battles, each artist plays a song, then their opponent follows with one of their own works, chosen with the intention of one-upping. Engaged audiences argue passionately about the victor. (In a testament to their popularity and relevance, the voting rights activist Stacey Abrams appeared on a November show featuring Atlanta artists Gucci Mane and Jeezy to promote voting in the Georgia Senate runoffs.)
At the same time that small concerts with socially distanced audiences are gradually beginning to return, livestream musical events allow the unvaccinated and those across the country to take part in intimate shows from some great artists. Here is a selection of performances in the coming week that are worthy of a festival lineup, but with a comfortable front-row seat guaranteed.
Pandora LIVE Powered by Women: Pandora is honoring Women’s History Month with a streamed all-female event, hosted by Hoda Kotb, which will include performances by Jazmine Sullivan and Gwen Stefani. They will also sit down with fellow artists Becky G and Lauren Alaina for a roundtable discussion on issues facing women in music. March 30, 9 p.m. Eastern, free for Pandora members; pandoralivepoweredbywomen.splashthat.com/PR
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Blind Boys of Alabama Easter Weekend Special: The Grammy-winning gospel group will perform a Good Friday show to celebrate the Easter holiday with a slate of new and old hits. The ensemble began performing in the late ’30s — its first members were children attending the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind — and since then there has been a rotating roster of band members, many of whom are visually impaired. The socially distanced, in-person show, held at Nashville’s City Winery, will be livestreamed. April 2, 9 p.m. Eastern, tickets start at $18; boxoffice.mandolin.com
Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle, “Woofstock at the Winery”: Steve Earle, who was recently featured on a cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin’” to benefit Feeding America, will perform live with country-music icon and avid dog-rescuer Emmylou Harris. Filmed at City Winery Nashville, the performance will benefit the animal charities Crossroads Campus and Bonaparte’s Retreat, a canine-rescue initiative founded by Harris and located on her property. April 3, 9 p.m Eastern, tickets $15; form.jotform.com/210543759066156
Dionne Warwick At Home With You: The legendary songstress has had a very busy past year, increasing her fan base by becoming a must-read on Twitter, appearing on the third season of “The Masked Singer” (she was disguised as a mouse) and popping up for a guest appearance on the Gladys Knight vs. Patti LaBelle Verzuz battle. Warwick, who was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in February, will be performing two virtual shows on Easter Sunday, plus another two on Mother’s Day. She is also expected to resume touring in October. April 4, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern, tickets $20, boxoffice.mandolin.com/pages/dionnewarwick
Verzuz: Isley Brothers vs. Earth, Wind & Fire: The Verzuz battles have become one of the singular joys of quarantine. Following the esteemed pairings of Snoop Dogg and DMX, and Alicia Keys and John Legend, the Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire will appear in the next round of the beloved series, the first time that two bands have duked it out on the series. April 4, 8 p.m. Eastern, free to view on Instagram Live @verzuztv or on Triller.(Author: Adrienne Gaffney)/(c.2021 The New York Times Company)