The performing arts have endured a year like no other, but the decimation of touring and in-person shows has in no way suppressed music fans’ love for a live performance. In many ways, the pandemic has opened up creative new ways for artists to engage with their listeners.
As of March 2020, for example, the hugely popular Instagram Live series Verzuz, created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, has been recruiting some of the biggest names in rap, hip-hop, and R&B for nostalgic battles. Each artist highlights their musical works and mimics DJ battles. He plays a song, then his opponent follows with one of his own works, chosen with the intention of improving it. Committed audiences argue passionately about the winner. (As evidence of her popularity and relevance, voting rights activist Stacey Abrams appeared on a November show with Atlanta artists Gucci Mane and Jeezy to encourage voting in the Georgia Senate runoff.)
While small concerts with socially distant audiences are gradually returning, live-streamed music events allow the unvaccinated and people across the country to attend intimate shows by some great artists. Here you will find a selection of performances in the coming week that are worthy of a festival line-up but guarantee a comfortable seat in the front row.
Pandora LIVE Powered by Women
Pandora is celebrating Women’s History Month with an all-female event hosted by Hoda Kotb and featuring appearances by Jazmine Sullivan and Gwen Stefani. They will also sit down with fellow artist Becky G and Lauren Alaina for a roundtable discussion on issues that women face in music. 9:00 p.m. East, free for Pandora members; pandoralivepoweredbywomen.splashthat.com/PR
2nd of April
Alabama Blind Boys Easter Weekend Special
The Grammy-winning gospel group will put on a Good Friday show to celebrate the Easter break with a range of hits, new and old. The company began performing in the late 1930s – its first members were children attending the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind – and have been on a rotating list of band members ever since, many of whom are visually impaired. The socially distant, personal show held at Nashville’s City Winery will be broadcast live. 9:00 p.m. Eastern, tickets start at $ 18; boxoffice.mandolin.com
3rd of April
Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle, “Woofstock at the Winery”
Steve Earle, who recently appeared on a cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin” for Feeding America, will perform live with country music icon and avid dog saver Emmylou Harris. The performance was filmed at City Winery Nashville and benefits animal welfare organizations Crossroads Campus and Bonaparte’s Retreat, a dog rescue initiative founded by Ms. Harris, located on her property. 9:00 p.m. EST, tickets $ 15; form.jotform.com/210543759066156
Dionne Warwick at your home
The legendary singer was very busy last year. She grew her fan base by becoming a must-see on Twitter, starring on season three of The Masked Singer (disguised as a mouse), and guest starring at the Battle of Gladys Knight vs. Patti LaBelle Verzuz. Ms. Warwick, who was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in February, will perform two virtual shows on Easter Sunday and two more shows on Mother’s Day. She is also expected to tour again in October. 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST, tickets $ 20, boxoffice.mandolin.com/pages/dionnewarwick
Verzuz: Isley Brothers against earth, wind & fire
The Verzuz Battles have become one of the unique joys of quarantine. After the esteemed pairings of Snoop Dogg and DMX, as well as Alicia Keys and John Legend, the Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire become the next round of the popular series, which is the first time two bands have made it on the series. 8 p.m. EST, free on Instagram Live @verzuztv or on Triller.