First up, Mike has a lovely conversation with Samantha Martin (5:20) about her pandemic experience and making her latest, barn-storming record with her band, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar. The new album, The Reckless One, was released in November via Gypsy Soul Records, and features swirling Booker T-inspired organ, a swaggering horn line and Samantha’s trademark hurricane-force vocals. With Mike, Samantha chats about their decision to focus on the European touring market prior the pandemic, the cost of touring the U.S., songwriting, singing in the studio versus on stage, what it was like to perform a livestreamed concert from a nearly-empty theatre, and more.
After that, Mike chats with Rob Cyrynowski (42:20) about his unique COVID-safe concert series called Hotels Live. Rob is a veteran Canadian talent buyer, booker, and promoter who’s worked with such acts as Kiss, Def Leppard, Rush, Thomas Rhett, Rihanna, Pitbull, Tiësto, Bryan Adams, and The Tragically Hip. Calgary-based Hotels Live Canada has been offering some of the most fun, COVID-safe concert experiences throughout the summer and fall and will continue to do so in 2021. At these shows, fans are watching DJs and bands from the comfort and safety of their hotel room balconies. So far in 2020, Hotels Lives has organized 15 safe live concerts with 48 artists. For those shows, more than 1,350 hotel rooms were sold, with over 5,000 fans attending shows, and ticket sales grossed over $350,000, far exceeding what most concert promoters have been able to do in Canada this year. And importantly, there’s been zero COVID-19 cases traced to the shows. So, Rob discusses how this concert concept came to be, the lessons learned so far, and what 2021 holds.