Why there's no substitute for the buzz of a live show - Roger Cox

In recent weeks, for the first time in a long time, it has been possible for us to review live, in-person performances in the pages of The Scotsman.

At the end of May, our classical music critic Ken Walton travelled to Perth Concert Hall to cover two socially-distanced concerts as part of their "Live and Unlocked" series.

And last week David Pollock visited one of Pitlochry Festival Theatre's new Covid-friendly outdoor performance spaces to hear Daniel Boys and Lauren Samuels singing songs from the shows in An Afternoon at the West End.

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In the coming days, our theatre critic Joyce McMillan will be able to review another outdoor Pitlochry show, David Greig's Adventures with the Painted People, and our music critic David Kettle is off to Aberdeen to round up various live performances as part of the Sound festival.

Sharleen Spiteri and Tony McGovern in the latest Scotsman Sessions

As you'd expect, the return to normality in the performing arts is proving slow and tentative, but, without wishing to tempt fate, it does now feel as if things are moving in the right direction, so we think it's time to start scaling back our award-winning series of online video performances, the Scotsman Sessions.

As regular readers will know, the sessions were set up last March, after theatres and concert halls went dark, both as a way of offering our readers at least a small taste of what they were missing, and as a way of using scotsman.com as an outlet for locked-down, audience-starved artists.

We've published four sessions a week since then, and we reach session number 250 this week, with a brilliant acoustic version of the title track from Texas's new album Hi, performed by Sharleen Spiteri and Tony McGovern (see pages 30-31).

From now on, though, we'll be aiming to reduce the number of sessions per week from four to three, to make space for more live reviews, and we hope to be able to move further in this direction as the summer progresses.

The internet's a wonderful thing, but if the last year has taught us anything, it's that there's no substitute for the buzz of a live show.


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