Taiwan Just Had Its First 10,000-Person Arena Concert Since the Pandemic Began. Here’s What It Was Like to Be There

Date: August 18, 2020
By: Kat Moon

Attendees of the Eric Chou concert, as Chou went around greeting guest around the arena, and taking selfies with them.
Chou’s concert is the first in the world since the Covid-19 pandemic struck worldwide.
Taipei, Taiwan.
August, 8th, 2020
Photograph by An Rong Xu for TIME

When Damy Li bought a ticket to attend the first concert of Eric Chou’s 2020 How Have You Been tour in Taipei on Aug. 8, she knew she’d have to wear a mask upon entry. What she didn’t know was that she’d win a lottery that got her a second one—a pink medical mask signed by the Mandopop singer-songwriter, who gave it to her onstage. It would be a memento not just of Li’s first concert, but of how fundamentally COVID-19 has changed public life.

That night, the 10,000-plus concertgoers at the Taipei Arena experienced what few have felt in nearly half a year: the energy of a packed house singing along with a beloved artist’s songs. That a concert of this size—larger than any other reported on since social distancing measures began—was taking place in Taiwan is a testament to the self-governing island’s strong response to the coronavirus. Heading into the show, Taiwan, which has a population of more than 23 million, had recorded 479 cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths. Through prevention measures ranging from border control to mandatory 14-day home quarantine for travelers, Taiwan has largely kept the virus at bay. In early June, after no new locally transmitted cases were recorded for eight weeks, restrictions were lifted on audience numbers for large gatherings.

During rehearsal, Chou practices the opening number, “Nobody But Me.” It had been more than a year since he performed his first show at the arena. “Last year, I was just very nervous,” he says. “This year, it’s a feeling more like returning home”    [FULL  STORY]

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