Even though people can’t go to a concert right now because of quarantine, the concert can still come to them.
As this abnormal semester comes to an end, it’s uncertain what summer activities will be allowed, including seeing one’s favorite artists in concert. Thanks to technology and some artistic creativity, musicians have been working with production companies for decades to give fans the opportunity to watch their shows from home by creating concert movies and documentaries. Here are some of the best performances that are available anytime, either free or for a small rental fee.
“Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour” featuring Taylor Swift
In 2018, Swift toured her album, “Reputation,” which was then turned into a Netflix special on Dec. 31, 2019. The special took viewers to her live concert without going behind the scenes or showcasing interviews. Fans can watch the concert all the way through with no interruptions. Swift performed songs like “Look What You Made Me Do,” “Shake it Off” and a major throwback, “All Too Well.” She even brought the two opening acts up on stage with her, Camilla Cabello and Charlie XCX. This is something that people who grew up with her music will enjoy.
“Springsteen on Broadway” featuring Bruce Springsteen
While Broadway is known for its upbeat show tunes, Bruce Springsteen decided to go against the norm with his own one-man show. It’s simply Springsteen sitting in a Broadway theater with his guitar, making for a simple, intimate performance. He tells stories about his family, his childhood and what it was like as his career continued to rise throughout the years. He also performs most of his songs in a very raw way, with no band behind him. It’s a more personal show than his fans are used to seeing.
“Happiness Continues” featuring Jonas Brothers
Recently, the Jonas Brothers released its second Amazon Prime special, “Happiness Continues.” This film follows the men through the process of preparing for their “Happiness Begins” tour after a long break. It highlights how they were able to bring the band back to life. The film shows clips of the crew getting the set ready, the brothers getting focused before going on stage and a couple scenes of the three of them interacting with their families between shows. This is a concert film that focuses on family and has some nostalgic points.
“Homecoming: a film by Beyoncé” featuring Beyoncé
After being the first African American woman to headline the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Beyoncé released a video of the performance in her Netflix original, “Homecoming: a film by Beyoncé.” The movie goes back and forth between the two performances she did at the festival. Besides the concert, there’s footage of when she was working with her dancers and preparing the set. She mentions how she chose her dancers as a way to express her culture by hiring mostly African-American backup dancers, the process of preparing for Coachella and gets a little bit personal as well. People who enjoy Beyoncé’s music and want a feel for what she’s like offstage should watch this movie.
“Sweetener” featuring Ariana Grande
Unlike the rest of these movies, this film was actually posted on YouTube by a channel called Filmed by You. Since it wasn’t produced by a professional production company or streaming service, it’s only footage of her show and doesn’t go behind the scenes. This gives viewers a full concert experience. The film’s mostly shot at the floor level but changes angle whenever Grande moves on stage. Viewers get to witness each step and song as if they were there. Besides Grande’s show, Filmed by You also has full videos of Paramore’s MONUMENTOUR concert and a Fall Out Boy show also from the MONUMENTOUR.
“U2: Rattle and Hum” featuring U2
This is a classic music documentary from one of the biggest bands of the last few decades. In 1988, the Irish rock band U2 released its own behind-the-scenes concert film. It follows them across the U.S. as the members tour for their new album, “The Joshua Tree.” This documentary goes further than just showing the band on stage or the happenings backstage. The camera follows U2 around as members explore each new location. It also has shots of on-location recording sessions for the “Rattle and Hum” album as well. During the band’s stop in Tennessee, it takes some time to visit Graceland and see where Elvis Presley lived and recorded at Sun Records. U2 also records parts of its songs with a gospel choir in Harlem, New York, as well. This would be a great choice for those who listen to a lot of classic rock.
“Michael Jackson: This Is It” featuring Michael Jackson
Although he passed away in 2009, fans of Michael Jackson can still enjoy him in his concert movie, “Michael Jackson: This is It.” The movie came out right after his death, so it was a big deal and was in theaters for only two weeks. It follows Jackson preparing for the tour so people got to see who he was right before he died when he wasn’t going out in the public eye very much.
Although most people are stuck in quarantine, it doesn’t mean they can’t watch and appreciate great live music from the comfort and safety of their homes. These are a few of the many choices that are available to people via on-demand services or by live stream that can help them bridge the gap until they can go out and hopefully enjoy live concerts in the near future.
Contact Gracie Brogowski at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.