Accidental Coping: Streaming Live


On Sunday, I tuned in on Facebook to a live living-room concert by folk singer Richard Thompson. I didn’t know about it in advance, just happened to be on Facebook when one of my friends shared that it was happening. What a lovely way to spend part of my afternoon.

As I type this, I’m listening to a live-streamed performance on YouTube by Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids.

Among the most creative—and gracious—responses to the shelter-in-place situation that so many of us find ourselves in across the world are the free, virtual concerts that many performers are offering. The artists run the gamut from Andrew Lloyd Webber to Phish to your friend down the street who plays in a band. Whatever kind of music you like, I think you can find virtual concerts you’d love to attend.

I find them special both because they’re thoughtful gifts to us from the performers and because they happen generally in the intimate setting of the artist’s own home: Rufus Wainwright or Lin-Manuel Miranda at his home piano, Richard Thompson on his sofa with his guitar. It feels like such a special kindness to be on the receiving end of these performances. As we look for silver linings, this is one.

This is one of the ways I’m coping—admittedly with mixed results—while I do the best thing I can to prevent the spread of COVID-19: stay at home. I have live music playing in the background sometimes while I work long hours, occasionally provided by my own friends on Facebook, more often by artists whose names you know far better than you know mine. And sometimes these are artists I’ve never heard of before, so this is a time of discovery.

It reminds me of walking the streets of Galway, Ireland, a couple years ago, where buskers abound, and coming across a performance by the band Galway Street Club. A magical, happy performance. Here they are.

I highly recommend it. There are websites compiling dates and times of upcoming concerts, or you can just search online. I occasionally set an alarm for streams I know I want to catch; more often, I just pull up a website with live listings when I feel in the mood. I don’t always find a live stream that catches my fancy. When I don’t, I turn to Dan Ursini’s Music-for-Music columns here at EIL as a starting point for a different kind of musical discovery.

Music to love, provided for free by artists who love to make it, and offered—and received—as a gift of connection and solidarity and togetherness in a time when we’re all apart.

Calendar listings:

Consequence of Sound: Livestream concerts

NPR: List Of Live Virtual Concerts

Cnet: Livestream concert list

Billboard: Live streams and virtual concerts

Individual concerts:

Matt Pryor (YouTube)

Richard Thompson (Facebook)

James Dillon (Facebook)

Facebook Virtual Festival

YouTube Discovery:

Dan Ursini’s Music-for-Music

Kim Kishbaugh is no kind of artist at all, but a lover of art in many different forms. She travels through life with an open mind and open eyes in search of magic, and sometimes finds it. She is Escape Into Life‘s social media editor and a long-time journalist with an unsettling history of seeing the companies she works for go out of business. She blogs occasionally at kkish.net.