One more week and one more small sign that we're returning to normal.
Concerts in the Gallery at the Te Puna Quarry Park are kicking off again this Sunday (July 12).
This show, like many others there, is organised by the indefatigable Rosie Holmes who started using it as a venue after the Te Puna War Memorial Hall was demolished.
Just by the way, it looks like the replacement hall might actually be ready before the end of this year but, in the meantime, Rosie continues to bring folk-related music from around the country to the Te Puna Quarry.
Sunday's show features Wellington duo Legal Tender comprising Ian Campbell and Moira Howard, the two-piece version of The Legal Tender Band. They play guitar and bass and both sing, a mixture of country covers – their latest album features songs by John Prine and Loretta Lynn – and their own songs, a couple of which have won awards at the Gore Gold Guitar Awards.
The concert kicks off 3pm on Sunday: $20 tickets can be prebooked from Rosie at: email@example.com. There may be some on the door.
Moira Howard and Ian Campbell of Legal Tender.
So things are settling down to how they were before this lockdown business took over our lives. However, with the rest of the world not coping quite as well there are still a lot of lockdown concerts being streamed.
I watched a particularly enjoyable one the other day, Alabama 3 playing for the Lost Horizons Festival. This was a virtual English festival put together by the team behind the Glastonbury Festival's Shangri-La stage. It was an amazing event...
There were actually four ‘stages’ and the organisers had created an entire virtual festival space. The bands were recorded using green screen technology, and placed inside this virtual world as were people who signed up, meaning that, much like in an on-line multiplayer game, punters could meet with friends, chat, dance and explore inside the virtual multiverse.
I didn't do that. I just dug the music, a stripped-back four-piece A3 sounding wonderful and reworking a pile of favourite songs for the acoustic line-up. They are, in case you haven't come across them, famous for creating the theme tune for The Sopranos, still going strong despite the death of one of their two lead singers last year.
What made the gig even more wonderful was the crowd, those people who'd signed up and entered the festival multiverse. It certainly enhanced the experience, watching a ‘virtual’ crowd packing a ‘virtual’ mosh pit, many doing silly and outrageous things with silly and outrageous avatars.
There was, however, still no applause between songs, an issue that tends to make many on-line shows seem a little flat. Certainly the amazing bluegrass picking and singing from the Grand Ole Opry can move you to tears, but the weird silence after each song does detract.
I haven't so far seen any bands use canned applause, though I imagine it is tempting.
It's the same situation for comedians, with the likes of John Oliver and Trevor Noah seeming a bit lost without audience laughter to complement their jokes.
The same thing hasn't been an issue with sport and specifically football, which has started up again in Europe. While the Italian league and others play in silence England's Premier league has enthusiastically embraced both pre-recorded cheering and a pre-fabricated crowd.
It's been interesting watching the many varied approaches to this.
Some teams printed huge canvasses with crowd faces on them. At other clubs you could pay to have an image of your choice printed onto a life-sized silhouette (and yes, there were some issues with images used as eagle-eyed viewers spotted Osama Bin Laden and others in the crowd).
Similarly, the crowd noises vary from club to club. Some just put on a prerecord of cheering but others, Manchester United for instance, with a greater budget have gone the whole hog and clearly have a dedicated live mixer flipping between cheers, jeers, intakes of breathe, chants and all the other noises of a typical crowd.