AJR, The Virtual Experience

Katrina Cisewski

The ending of The One Spectacular Night virtual concert.

Well, 2020 was sure a year that will go down in the history books. Just like everything else from family gatherings, birthday parties, holidays, work and school–concerts became virtual, too.  AJR was to perform live in May, but due to the pandemic, it was canceled.   In December I had the chance to see the live streamed concert that AJR called ¨One Spectacular Night.¨ Although virtual, it was awesome!

Spectators from around the world had the opportunity to engage in a livestream virtual concert with fun special effects of cheering, clapping, and stomping.  One virtual concert attendee was my friend Victoria Betro, a Junior at SPASH.  Victoria first found AJR back in 2017 when she heard ¨Weak¨ on the radio and her first thoughts were that “It had a good beat, but I didn’t know if I liked the message.”  Then in 2019 ¨Burn The House Down¨ came up on her Spotify. She thought it was very unique and made her interested in listening to more of their music. Victoria showed me ¨Burn The House Down¨ when we went on a trip together in the summer of 2019, but little did she know that showing me a song would end up as us becoming pretty big fans and planning on going to a concert together (which ended up being canceled just like everything else in 2020). “I really enjoyed the concert. They had a lot of elaborate effects, which I think made the show very captivating.  Some of the effects I especially liked included the laser walk Jack did and the giant pencil they used to appear as though they were drawing on the screen,”  Betro said, reflecting on the concert.  

The concert was a virtual experience of various levels for people all over the world.  A positive of the concert being virtual was that people who would never have the opportunity to attend a concert could enjoy it from their own home.   There were two types of tickets that you could buy, one was the basic concert ticket that cost $25 and the other one had bonus content that was slightly more expensive.  Those who bought the more expensive ticket were able to rotate between different camera angles and engage in a chat with others.  The concert goers then watched an interview with AJR and asked them questions after the live concert.  

In the interview, they talked about how they wanted this livestream event to be different and engaging to the participants.  To enhance the virtual setting, Ryan referenced the video game concept which creates 3D images to draw the person into the show. Ryan said in the interview, “Let’s bring it out into the audience, let’s have Jack walk on the laser walk out into the audience in this 3D space, let’s have it snow actually on the stage, let’s have Jack in an actual boat not all on a video wall.”  The attendees felt that the special effects made the virtual event well worth it.  

Although this event was very different from anything we have ever experienced before, it was amazing to be a part of this concert.  It was the first time that AJR had a virtual concert and our first time being in the virtual audience.  It really lived up to its name — it was spectacular with the lights, special effects, and extraordinary music.  In the future, it will be even better when my friends and I can see it in person. It would be really awesome together!