No matter how it is produced, pop music is inherently tied to the idea of live performance. Pop music is made to be shared and reflected upon by people in the flesh. The biggest popstars often perform as part of huge, ambitious productions involving multiple sets, costumes, bands, and dancers. Since the 1980s, pop concerts have been steadily becoming more theatrical events. Perhaps Madonna can be thanked for kickstarting that development! Here are the pop stars you should go and see in 2021 and 2022:
Lil Nas X
A seat at a Lil Nas X show has to be one of the hottest concert tickets of the year. When Nas released ‘Old Town Road’, many pundits thought he was a surefire one-hit wonder. What they didn’t take into account was the sheer tenacity and charisma of the young singer. Lil Nas X has only grown more confident and audacious with his live shows since he rose to fame: employing crack troops of dancers, plenty of high camp visual gaggery, and a natural talent for showmanship. Lil Nas X is here to stay, despite what musical naysayers might have said during his early career.
Lady Gaga has always been known for her mesmerizing live shows. Channeling high fashion and near feverish pop worship into her productions, Gaga shows are a feast for the senses. Her latest album – Chromatica – has been heralded a return to the bombast of her early releases. Gaga has not yet toured Chromatica due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Needless to say, if the moment comes, then tickets are going to fly out at a feverish pace.
Beyonce is a veteran performer with a curator’s eye for great creative direction and a stellar team around her. She is also an immensely talented and charismatic singer, dancer, and all-round creative. Attending a Beyonce show can feel like something of a religious experience – the senses given barely a second to recover in-between bouts of wild stimulation. Tickets are not cheap for Beyonce concerts, but that doesn’t stop her from filling up stadiums all around the world. A ticket to a Beyonce show isn’t just a ticket to a stadium: it is a ticket to an experience like nothing else.
BTS are one of the biggest pop bands in the world. The picture-perfect South Korean idols have spearheaded a wave of K-Pop lust all over the world and played countless sell-out shows. Their most significant show, however, might have been performed to no audience at all. Earlier this year, the band performed a no-expenses-spared show at Seoul Olympic Stadium: nobody was in attendance. Instead, the band performed for a global live stream to hundreds of thousands of adoring fans. The show had widely been hailed as a great success. The celebratory, circus-like atmosphere of their performance has been seen as a brilliant example of what artists can do during times when audiences cannot be directly reached.