‘I loved the weirdness’ – can Laura Marling’s crowdless gig rescue live music?
The singer played ticketed livestreams from an (almost) empty church to brighten up lockdown. We took up a lonely pew to see if it could match the real thing
After three months of shuttered concert venues, hearing Laura Marling’s voice eddy around the Union Chapel in north London is like being dosed with a vitamin I had been leaving out of my diet. It’s almost like hearing live music for the first time; a different kind of beauty than you get on a daily walk or a drive to a castle, something vividly real but constantly evaporating into the air.
Aside from 25 production staff, there’s almost no one else in the venue for this concert, which is being streamed online as one of the first fully realised gigs since the arrival of coronavirus. Backed solely by her acoustic guitar, Marling plays one set for the UK in the evening and a later one for a US audience. She is recorded in crystal clarity and filmed on three cameras, two of them roving around and approaching her, capturing the changing weather across her face.