California has long been accused – and rightly so – of being a car-based culture. Perhaps it’s the ultimate game controller in a land of self-determination peeps. Perhaps it’s because the voluminous ribbons of concrete corridors, taking us hither, thither, and yon, are free. Perhaps… well, you fill in the blank, Constant Reader.

Southern California went for a solid three months without in-person concerts in 2020. It seems impossible that the land of good-and-plenty, augmented by near constant sunshine, was no longer the mecca of entertainers from Lady Antebellum to Lady Gaga – slammed shut as an artifact of COVID-19.

The unprecedented global pandemic sideswiped the live events industry, bars, amphitheaters (many outdoors), concert halls, arenas, club, and festival grounds. That’s a lollapalooza of cash to lose, so concert promoters searched for solutions where people – performers and audiences alike – could be safe. Soon local venues with vast parking lots, such as the Orange County Fairgrounds and closed shopping malls, had built stages in those vast spaces, giving out-of-work music industry professionals a job. Municipalities who relied on the tax-and-fees revenue were quick to embrace the new drive-in concert concept. Health officials definitely approved.

A sense of normalcy and control returned to the land. People no longer had to remained cooped up at home, staring at their walls, their families, their pets – even avoiding their neighbors due to coronavirus fears. Music was a vibrant release for the locals and a boost to a segment of the economy. Liquor sales were given increased, too, though bars, clubs, movie theaters, and restaurants remain closed. Thanks to the entrepreneurs, planners, and officials who cooperated on their citizens’ behalf.

The land was alive with the sound of music… and the freeways returned to ‘rubies and diamonds’ again.

With our recent spate of summer-like weather (sh-h, don’t tell the other 3/4 of the US where winter is bad-ass wretched) outdoor events resumed.

We all hope that, like Mary’s little lamb, that indoor venues will be open soon… indoor acoustics are good!