muse4 (copy)

Muse performs at the Starlight Theater in 2017.

While local concerts have been in full swing, the question has lingered as to when national tours will start up again. This week, it appears we got our answer.

While some bands like Machine Gun Kelly have booked shows as soon as this month, it’s looking like others, like Alicia Keys, Matchbox Twenty and Dave Matthews Band, will return this summer to outdoor venues.

While I’ve been a concert skeptic during the pandemic, as my trust in strangers to protect others around them has dropped precipitously in the past year, I think it’s about time for this to happen, as long as it’s outdoors.

As more people get vaccinated and suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control roll out, outdoor concerts are the first kind of live entertainment I’d feel comfortable attending. They can be controlled, as there’s less of a chance of a mosh pit breaking out in a seated venue like Kansas City’s Starlight Amphitheater or Providence Medical Center Amphitheater in Bonner Springs. Also, people can space out and experience a show as they haven’t been able to since 2019.

While I don’t believe the larger Missouri and Kansas area will have an acceptable number of COVID vaccinations for a large crowd to be safe, masks can instill some sense of security. As awful as they may be in the unrelenting heat of the summer, they still should be required for shows with large crowds. The venues have solid security to keep a tight grip on the audience like they have in the past when they kept audiences from taking videos and photos at shows like Flight of the Conchords and Muse.

On the other hand, I don’t think we’re ready to return to indoor concerts. While Justin Bieber is set for a performance at the T-Mobile Center in June, I think packing thousands of screaming fans in close quarters is a bad idea. While I’m thankful that cities like St. Joseph and Kansas City have been able to keep COVID case numbers down, they’ve been slowly going back up. Indoor concerts don’t help. The one exception I can think of is live plays and musicals, which don’t have the audience singing and screaming along. Even in those cases, I’m cautious about suggesting it.

Indoor shows are certainly something to re-visit in the fall and winter when outdoor shows aren’t a choice. But until then, let’s be like an outdated meme and when it comes to live shows, say “Catch me outside.” How ‘bout that?

Andrew Gaug can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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