SHOW RECAP: blossoms perform live from london, hosted on melodyvr
I'd never expected that the first time I saw Blossoms would be over virtual reality, but when MelodyVR reached out with the opportunity to review their gig that they were livestreaming from O2 Academy Brixton, I couldn't say no. I've, admittedly, been avoiding livestreamed gigs, simply because I know they won't hold a candle to the real thing, and because they're almost the audiobooks of the concert world - do they really count?
Frontman Tom Ogden took the stage alone to start of the gig with a solo and acoustic performance of "Blown Rose" in a circle of twinkly lights, the word LOVE illuminated behind him. The rest of the band then joined Ogden for a joyous performance of "The Keeper." I don't have VR goggles, but it was fun to be able to move myself around the stage. Watching the director's cut, the cameras switched every minute or so, allowing you to watch from stage center, the track cam, stage left, stage right, or front of house.
Ogden jumped out from behind the keyboard for the band's third track of the night, "Your Girlfriend," which requires him to be dancing every second of the song. "There's A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Call)" was next, and it was clear even through my iPad that this is a song the band loves to perform live.
Blossoms kept the energy up with "I Can't Stand It," and if I closed my eyes, I could almost feel those drums in my chest. It was very odd not to hear a crowd clapping and screaming between songs, but Ogden filled the silence very well, thanking us after they finish each track. "Getaway" was next, followed by "My Swimming Brain," which I'd actually never heard before and which I now think is my favorite Blossoms tune. Tom took his shoes off during "My Swimming Brain," and the band had a bit of banter between it and "Sunday Was A Friend Of Mine" - a lot of the members don't normally have microphones, so they were all excited to be able to talk, though many of them claimed they didn't have much to say!
What a treat "Sunday Was A Friend Of Mine" was. I decided then was a good time to have a little dance break from my work. Then I strapped back in and let "If You Think This Is Real Life" work its magic while I filed paperwork - which was an odd experience, I have to admit. "Honey Sweet" - another track I'd never heard before - came next and cured every sadness I've ever felt. The band then played two of their new Christmas tunes, "Christmas Eve (Soul Purpose)" and "It's Going To Be A Cold Winter" which only made sense considering the stage was decked out with a Christmas tree, and a Scottish Santa Claus had just passed Tom his guitar. I've never been a big fan of Christmas music, but I quite like this one.
With only about ten minutes left of the gig (accorrding to , I was starting to feel a bit like I didn't understand how it'd gone by so fast. Blossoms' first ever single, "Blow," was up next, a psychedelic funk of a tune, the atmosphere of the entire venue changing to reflect how much different it was from the previous handful of songs played. The breakdown during this song was insane.
Tom introduced the additional musicians performing onstage with the core members of the band, and then they cut into "Like Gravity." The next couple were "Falling For Someone" and "Oh No (I Think I'm In Love)," two very sweet songs that I love very much. More banter before the final tracks of the night, "At Most A Kiss" and my favorite "Charlemagne," and then they were walking offstage.
This entire experience made me very emotional. Blossoms Live from London was my first full band "gig" during the entire pandemic, and it reminded me, despite my best efforts to push the feeling down, just how much I miss live music. MelodyVR have created a very innovative, all-immersive experience, and though nothing beats being in a crowd, surrounded by people who love music the way you do, the sweat, the tears, the crowdsurfers, this will definitely do until we can get back out there. All in all, the gig was enormously fun, and I can now say I've seen Blossoms live!
MelodyVR's app is available to download from the App store on your Apple and Android devices, as well as on your VR headset. Each upcoming gig is relatively cheap to experience, and if you have a VIP membership, you gain access to their entire back catalogue, including performances by The Who, Kasabian, Lewis Capaldi, and more. The Blossoms gig itself will be available to stream indefinitely. Blossoms can be found on Twitter and Instagram. Stream their sophomore album Foolish Loving Spaces and their latest full-length release, In Isolation/Live From The Plaza Theatre, Stockport, wherever you listen to music.