The UK’s first socially distanced arena gig took place on the 27th of this month. Virgin Money Unity Arena saw Tom Grennan supported by Mosa Wild, both of whom were performing their first live set since lockdown began.
Lockdown has seen a sense of uncertainty surrounding most gigs and events. The entry to the outdoor arena, however, was quick and efficient, but most importantly safe. Each group attending the arena is allocated a bay, with all bays being socially distanced and given foldable seats for those that may prefer to sit through the performances.
You were given plenty of time to get to your designated bay, and the music kicked off at 7pm with Mosa Wild taking centre stage. Outstanding. You can usually measure the success of a band’s live performance on how close they sound to their recorded tracks and Mosa Wild was identical. Their set was one of the most beautiful and musically aesthetic sets I’ve seen live, consisting of original tracks from their various EP’s and a special cover of ‘The Whole of the Moon’ by The Waterboys in their own style.
The vocal effects, such as the octave lift that can be heard in ‘Smoke’, went off without a hitch and they managed to keep the atmosphere of their songs throughout, which I think is particularly difficult as usually this comes from the production of tracks. It really emphasises Mosa Wild’s true-to-life nature and the talent of those involved in the project. They were the highlight of my night and totally outshone Tom Grennan.
Grennan took to the stage at roughly 8:30pm, he played a mixture of new upcoming releases, some of his hits from his 2018 album Lighting Matches, and also the track that sparked his career; ‘All Goes Wrong’. The live version of this song without Chase & Status sent shivers down my spine – it was phenomenal. There was a delightful balance of new and classic tracks, which is always great.
Tom’s decision to include a gospel style choir for his backing vocals was a brilliant one. ‘Royal Highness’ was a standout track from Tom’s hour-long set; I vividly remember the live drums from this track being particularly brilliant. The mixing was perfect, and the lighting was fabulous, so a huge well done to those involved in the respective production teams. His set ended at roughly 9:30pm with the track ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’.
All in all, the Arena saw a brilliant gig, with some amazing live music for the first time in a long time. The atmosphere was different to a usual gig; quieter, and unfortunately not so much noise from the fans. The food was good, and the staff were lovely, but it wasn’t a typical gig: it was the potential future of the music industry.