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Music stars gear up for live gigs in the new normal

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BY NATALIA NINGTHOUJAM

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) Backstreet Boys member Kevin Richardson recently got fans of the popular American boy band excited when he shared that they are going to be back on stage even as the world adjusts to the new normal.

“Hey #BSBARMY, We ARE coming back to Sao Paulo to perform for ALL you amazing people as soon as it is safe for all! You can BELIEVE that! #DNAWorldTour #BackstreetsBack #BSBSAOPAULO,” Richardson took to his verified Twitter account earlier this week and wrote.

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They aren’t the first music act to perform amidst the pandemic that has put everything to a standstill over the past six months. Going big with the audience was also Mandopop star Eric Chou, who put up a concert with an over-10,000 audience on August 8 and 9 at the Taipei Arena. He returned to the stage on September 5 and 6, this time at the Kaohsiung Arena, Taiwan.

“Being the first is very exciting for us. Of course, it’s not easy to do. To be the first, a lot of preparation was necessary. It’s a must for everyone to wear a mask to enter the concert, for hands to be sanitised. To purchase a ticket, you have to use your own name, your ID number and phone number,” Eric told IANS after his August gigs, adding that it wasn’t easy to hold such a huge concert because there were strict guidelines to be followed owing to Covid-19.

Country music star Keith Urban had performed a secret show at a Tennessee drive-in theater for about 200 health care workers in May, too.

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While the global music scene is cautiously opening up to live gigs, a few Indian singers are at it, too.

Sonu Nigam performed for his Dubai fans on August 21. Composer duo Salim-Sulaiman went live in mid-August. It was their first concert in five months, which was beamed across around 1,800 Zoom accounts all over the world.

“It felt like I ate real food after ages!” joked Salim Merchant, one half of the duo, about finally getting to go live.

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Among the early birds to perform live is also Punjabi star Guru Randhawa, who entertained his Delhi fans in a private show on June 30.

Asked if he is planning more such shows, Guru told IANS: “Yes definitely, if you talk about Indian artistes and their earnings, it majorly depends on live shows. So I have started doing live shows and I hope other artistes who are getting an opportunity, should also do it because that’s the way forward.”

With lockdown imposed in March, the trend of virtual gigs had taken over. Guru feels that once the situation improves, artistes will get back to their usual live shows involving interaction with the concert-goers.

Singer Shilpa Rao also hopes to be back on stage soon, but safety is of utmost importance to her.

“It is opening up slowly, but right now the safety of people is most important. I hope these things come back to normal gradually. I believe in slow and steady,” she told IANS.

Not just the audience, she feels that even performers need to be extra cautious if they decide to get on stage.

“It is mostly surface contact that is dangerous. So, the way we handle the microphone and walk from one end (of the stage) to the other (will matter). There are so many things that musicians use, like microphones and instruments. It’s all about using your hands, so we need to be extra careful. I hope I can get on stage soon and perform after taking all precautions,” she added.

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at natalia.n@ians.in)

–IANS

nn/vnc/rt

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