Sidewalk Prophets play Fargo show via streaming service
Until recently, a band’s career was a steady cycle of recording and releasing albums followed by touring to promote that record.
It’s a strategy acts like Sidewalk Prophets have been happy to follow, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the group to adapt. The quartet is still bringing concerts to communities around the country, but doing it without leaving their hometown, Nashville, Tenn.
Sidewalk Prophets plays a virtual concert for the Fargo area Friday night and fans never have to leave home to catch the show. The contemporary Christian group will be streaming the gig from a studio in Nashville for fans to pay what they want, or plunk down up to $199 for a VIP package that includes personalized acoustic sets. Fans have to register for the show with their zip code to ensure they live in that market. Fans outside a certain distance have to pay $19.99 to watch.
Fans can register through the band's website, https://sidewalkprophets.com .
The unique idea of virtual touring emerged out of a bad situation. The band was set to release its fourth studio album, “The Things That Got us Here,” in March and intended to kick off the promotional tour with a hometown set at the iconic Ryman Auditorium. The show was postponed to July when members hoped things would return to some kind of normal, but as the date approached, a concert in front of fans was not going to happen. They didn’t want to give up their dream of playing the home of the Grand Ole Opry, so they went ahead with the date, played to the empty theater and streamed it.
They turned the set around to face the back of the stage and allow the auditorium’s stained glass windows serve as a backdrop.
“It was cool,” says singer Dave Frey. “It was really special. I’m really proud how it turned out, even if we couldn’t do it to a live audience.”
He says over 10,000 people caught the show and inspired them to make the virtual concert into a tour.
They cater each show to the intended market of each date, interacting with fans through zoom calls, giving them a say in the setlist and dropping some local references in his between-song banter.
“When we play ND I’m going to need to find something. I don’t wanna do accents from the movie 'Fargo' because that’s not you guys," Frey says. “I’ll figure something out, even if I have to wear a beard and pretend to be a Bison. If I can get some NDSU Bison gear, I definitely will do that.”
The group has played Fargo before, as well as Jamestown and Bismarck and while his strongest memory is of how cold it was playing here in winter, how beautiful the sunset was.
“That’s what I remember the most. The beauty of North Dakota doesn’t get talked about enough. I love the natural beauty up there. It’s a really special place.”
The father of a three-month-old boy, Frey’s happy to be staying close to home instead of hitting the road for weeks at a time. And while he and the band get together a couple of nights a week for the virtual tour dates, he misses the camaraderie of touring.
“The bus is not the best place, but there’s something about doing it together with your brothers. It’s like a rolling dorm room, if you will,” he says. “I love my brothers in Sidewalk. It brings you together, you eat together and you spend time spiritually together. It’s great that we still get to do it. Coming together as a band to play is a blessing.”