Today I got to watch Eluveitie perform a concert. I got comfortable in my chair, with my full water bottle and warm sweater. Then the band came out. Not 5 or even 500 feet from me, but about 4000 miles. It was 4 in the afternoon for me and 10 at night for them. I got to experience a live show through the magic of the internet. And the best part? It was absolutely free.
I don't know who started this trend or why there's no charge for it, but many festivals are starting to stream their shows in real time onto the net. The first festival I heard doing this was Bloodstock in August 2013 when it was posted on the Metal Archives main page. Since then, more and more shows seem to be doing it. You get to watch what gets outputted to the screens beside the stage, which is a pretty good view of the show. The sound quality is often hit or miss but it's mostly excusable.
A couple weeks ago I got to witness Deals Death live in concert, a band that I may never get to actually see in person. The show ended with a fire alarm and building evacuation and I got to experience all that crap along with everyone else. It's great! Then I watched Sabaton, who I am actually going to see later this year, perform at Dreamhack (some Swedish 'computer festival'). And now this weekend I've been watching Hellfest live from France. I saw Eluveitie today and I'll be tuning in to see Equilibrium tomorrow, another band I've never seen in person.
Sound quality aside, I think all the streaming is great. It's one thing to watch a Wacken performance on Youtube, but it's another entirely to be in a chatroom with a bunch of people complaining that the show is too quiet and that the band isn't playing their favourite song. It's of course not a replacement for actually seeing a band live. If anything it makes me want to see them more because I know they can actually perform well.
I'm looking forward to seeing as many bands as I can live, even if they're thousands of miles away. Maybe I'll actually be able to go to a Powerwolf concert now.