German metal queen Doro Pesch played three drive-in concerts in her home country this past summer. The shows complied with Germany's social distancing regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Drive-in concerts have received a mixed response from artists and fans, with MACHINE HEAD's Robb Flynn calling them "the stupidest fucking shit I've ever seen," and DESTRUCTION's Schmier outright refusing to play them, indicating "I don't wanna rip my fans off."
In a recent interview with Dead Rhetoric's Kyle McGinn, Doro shared her thoughts on the experience.
"It was a great adventure," she said. "It's not the same, like a normal concert or festival but it's better than doing nothing. We were all so happy that we could do it. The fans had a great time, and the band and road crew all had something to do. Usually people think about it being too much with another tour or gig, but everyone was so ready to run. It was great. When we did the first one, someone filmed part of it on a cell phone so we put it on our socials and in two days it had so many views! I think like 600,000 people saw it and then we got more phone calls from promoters and people who own drive-in theaters asking us to put on shows. Some of them had never done a rock show but thought they could pull it off. So, we did more drive-in shows and it was so great."
She continued: "Every show was totally different. Sometimes the rules and regulations were very strict, and sometimes they were more loose. I asked if I could go into the audience, with social distancing, and sometimes the answer was no and a few times I could do it as long as I was wearing a mask. So I did, no problem, and I wore a mask and sung anyway! It works! It actually looked a lot like our [WARLOCK] 'All We Are' video. We played on top of a tour bus and everyone was in their cars, and they are frozen but come to life through the magic of metal and it looked exactly like that when I hopped on stage. It was like déjà vu! Going back in time to 1987 to when we filmed that video. That was surreal."
The first Live Nation drive-in show was held in May in Denmark, with 600 cars in attendance.
The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten said the crowds were respectful of distancing regulations and there were no notable incidents at the event, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In June, Flynn ruled out the potential of MACHINE HEAD playing drive-in concerts in the future.
"I just watched some stupid drive-in show the other day where people sat in their cars and honked when they liked what the band was playing, and it was the stupidest fucking shit I've ever seen," he told Kerrang! magazine. "If cover bands want to do that shit, it's cool. They should have fun. But the whole point of a MACHINE HEAD show is having those 5,000 people screaming every word, pressed against the barrier, getting sweaty and piling into giant circle pits — just that cathartic release of energy. If the only option is drive-ins for a while, I can wait."
SCORPIONS guitarist Matthias Jabs also dismissed the possibility of his band playing drive-in concerts during the pandemic, telling "Pollstar Live! Digital Session": "The SCORPIONS aren't [interested in playing] those — how do you call it? The car, movie-theater type of shows. It doesn't have any atmosphere, I don't think, for the audience, and especially not for the bands. You need to be able to communicate with the audience, and that's the same thing if you do, like, livestreamed shows in someone's studio without an audience. It gives people something to watch, but for the artist, especially for a band like the SCORPIONS [which] loves to communicate with the audience. What are you gonna do? You can maybe hold that energy level for the first two, three songs, but what will you do after one hour? There's nobody to play to, nobody to talk to and nobody who can sing along with you, and I don't think that feels right. I think it's not really an option for us."
Doro released a video for her new single, "Brickwall", in June. The track was made available digitally via Nuclear Blast and on vinyl on July 31.
Doro is currently working on the follow-up to 2018's "Forever Warriors, Forever United" studio album.