By JOSH TRIMMER
The year 2020 will certainly have its unavoidable memories. If history repeats one fact, it’s that people have found their way through the COVID situation and, in the process, they have strived for normalcy when and where it is available.
With restricted capacities or completely shut-down venues, live music shows as we knew and loved them came to an abrupt stop. But leave that to many creative and talented souls to ponder alternative ideas and the music started finding ways to get out like it has during so many other worldwide crises of the past.
Television has accomplished acceptable methods to safely continue to broadcast with help from the latest technology and much is being learned that will reshape future productions. Live music has done what it can to find possible safe methods to perform, though very scaled down. One such example are driveway or yard concerts utilizing small groups and audiences all socially distanced and outdoors.
This summer a certain driveway show occurred in Tulsa’s Minshall Park neighborhood that was done barely above the secrecy level. Only close-by neighbors on the street on which it occurred were informed about the event along with guidelines for social distancing. As it went into the night, others in the area came and joined in fun, complying with the guidelines as well.
The generating purpose of the show started as a “Farewell to Tulsa” show for lifetime Tulsan Tina Terry, who left the next morning to move to Los Angeles to pursue new career adventures there. Terry, who attended Union High School and The University of Tulsa, had grown up in the family entertainment business before working within the Hilton Hospitality group, most recently as director of events and catering at the Tulsa Club Hotel.
Terry was joined for the show by her duo partner Michael Bluestein. Together they perform as the duo Tina Blue. Bluestein has been the keyboardist for the band Foreigner for more than 12 years and, if not for the pandemic, would have been in Europe on tour.
Europe’s loss was the neighborhood’s gain. Bluestein flew in that evening from L.A. and immediately took “the stage” with Terry to deliver both original and cover tunes.
Rendering beautiful vocal harmonies and Bluestein on guitar, the show was on. Having an artist who has performed on the grandest stages of the world and before tens of thousands of people provided extra excitement to this almost surreal setting.
The attendees prepared themselves well with food and drink, much in the spirit of a good tailgate. They then settled back to watch the show.
The weather provided a “Chamber of Commerce” style night for a wonderful celebration and great escape for people from their homes and cares. All it took was willing artists, audience and a small sound system.
Similar events like this have popped up in many places and that should encourage citizens to go outside each night and listen to see if entertainment is happening near their neighborhoods. Although this particular show didn’t include tipping, for many musicians this is providing a way to make a little money while all their standard work has been canceled. The small audiences have shown their appreciation with a number of artists reporting making more money doing shows like this than at clubs and casinos.
Above all, players want to play and people want to be entertained – a winning combination for any neighborhood.
The Tina Blue Duo left the next morning. They arrived L.A. in the midst of street protests and a soon to be surging virus issue. They are adjusting and using the time to record in Bluestein’s home studio and also producing music videos.
For information on how to see live on-line shows and their soon to be released music video, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tinabluela and on Instagram at tinabluela.