Great White
Great White in North Dakota.
Mitch Malloy/YouTube

Great White Play North Dakota To Unmasked, Non-Socially Distanced Audience

The outdoor concert took place in Dickinson, North Dakota

What might concerts look like in the era of social distancing? One plan has emerged in the UK, with a new venue set to open in Newcastle that will offer the benefits of live music with an eye towards keeping audiences safe. And while that plan might involve a number of variables, it still has social distancing at its core — keeping artists at a distance from attendees and attendees at a distance from one another.

And then there’s the concert that heavy metal band Great White played in Dickinson, North Dakota on Thursday. And if the idea of Great White playing a concert under hazardous circumstances sounds familiar, you might recall that 100 people died at a Great White concert in Rhode Island in 2003 after a fire broke out in the venue.

At Rolling Stone, Daniel Kreps has more details about the North Dakota show. Notable among them: the city of Dickinson approved the plan for the outdoor concert. The band’s statement also notes that the North Dakota state government did recommend wearing masks. “[W]e are not in a position to enforce the laws,” the group added.

What stands out most from footage of the event is how normal at looks — at least by pre-pandemic standards, which means that it looks decidedly surreal in July of 2020.

The Rolling Stone report also notes that the version of Great White that played this concert is not quite the same one that played that fateful concert in Rhode Island all those years ago:

Following the fire, Great White split into two factions, one led by singer Jack Russell and another by founding guitarist Mark Kendall; the latter is the only member to perform at both the Station concert and Thursday’s North Dakota gig.

It’s still a disquieting moment to take in, with the parallels with the group’s history making it particularly unsettling.

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