Words by Maja Metera
Image courtesy of Getty Images
People miss clubbing, traveling, wearing bright lipstick and not having to worry that it’ll smudge because of the mask – I miss concerts more than anything in the world. There’s a whole ritual of going to a concert if you are a hardcore fan.
“The thing I miss about playin’ shows is the individuality of every night”– Yungblud
The process begins with the anxious wait to get tickets. Once secured, the date is saved, and outfits and makeup are chosen; transport and accommodation are a worry for a later date. It can be a stressful pain-in-the-ass but as soon as you mix with the crowd of like-minded people – all the trouble you went through to get there disappears. So that arena-full-of-screaming-fans-shaped whole in my chest made me intrigued by a concept of a virtual tour.
Yungblud (aka Dominic Harrison) is a British musician who fancies himself as a rockstar. His fanbase consists of people united by “not feeling like they belong” and I have never seen someone who loves their fans more than he does. So to fill the concert-less void, he decided to promote his upcoming album Weird! on a virtual world tour organised with Moment House. Big props are deserved for making the experience available to everyone at a price most people can afford (around 5 pounds) – which is a price point that’s far cheaper than traditional gigs.
What makes this tour different from MTV awards shows or jam sessions apart from the level of accessibility? The idea is that every performance is something new, separate and individualistic so he and the opening artists – Baby Queen and Royal and The Serpent – play live every night from specific locations. They do not play from the same venue due to COVID-19 safety guidelines. The performances are not recorded and only a certain number of tickets could be sold.
However, it wasn’t really what I expected it to be. First of all, the whole thing was planned to last an hour, and knowing that the main performance does not usually last less than 60min, I presumed that no other artist would play. How wrong of me to make such assumptions. Baby Queen in a beautiful tulle, black dress on a rose-gold stage played her hit like Pretty Girls Lie and Want Me. Royal and The Serpent finished off the support with a song called Overwhelmed, which has been something of a sensation on TikTok. Those supports left around 25 minutes for Yunglud himself. Pretty disappointing to be honest – which was a sentiment echoed by multiple members of the audience in the virtual chat that accompanied the performance. The chat was a great idea in theory, but in practise it was full of disrespectful comments towards anyone who was not Dominic.
The less that half an hour was filled with variations of “I love you so fucking much mate”, tears and new songs. The album comes out on December 4th (release date delayed from November 13th but Dom decided to give us a taste of songs that were not chosen to be singles – Mars, it’s quiet in Beverly hills and ice cream man. He played a few of the tracks promoting the album too – like strawberry lipstick and cotton candy, and all-time favourites like Loner from his first full-length album. However, his attempt to keep the performance as close to a traditional concert felt a little contrived. In particular, the interludes where he would command the home-bound audience to sing were a little too frequent, and they felt a bit rehearsed instead of a genuine, spontaneous attempt to connect with his fans.
I understand why those fans who cannot go to live performances are so thrilled with this idea of a tour online. However, even though artists do not visit Poland (where I am from) very often on their tours, I am privileged enough to be able to see them on various occasions. And from where I am standing, if I am being completely honest – this virtual experience only made me miss concerts more.
Tickets for the tour can be purchased here.