Fresh into 2021, Swedish early 2000’s rock band The Hives took to the live stream concert trend. Kicking off their New York City show, fans gathered from across the globe for a night of high energy, and a new take on ‘virtual participation.’ The Hives treated this New York City extravaganza like it was another concert live on stage with the fans all around. The energy was high and you could tell how much they truly love to perform. Fans in the chat had no idea the kind of entertaining evening they were in for.
From the moment the concert started, there were comments in the chat flowing of “clap clap clap” and they did not stop until the very end of the show. Fans were loving this high energy and distinct performance from The Hives. In their classic white suits and black bow ties, The Hives were ready to deliver a thrilling evening as if the fans were right there with them, and this time, they kind of were. As an added interactive feature, fans could call in and The Hives would go over and answer their call in phone every so often. By the end of the show, they had 800+ missed calls (to be expected when they were performing and then taking calls), but they let fans request songs, making this experience feel custom and personalized. On top of that, next to the phone there was a desktop looking computer monitor that allowed the band to see the fans chats. Between a few songs, charismatic frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, would head over and check the chats and read them. The chat log was popping up in real time and it was very cool to see the band actually take the time to read the chat log during the show.
As another little added bonus, The Hives had the fans in New York City vote on which song they wanted to hear the most. The fans voted for a song and a runner up song. This experience made each show different from each other. This was the second stop on the live (live stream, but live traveling) tour for The Hives. By making the fans in each location vote on what they wanted to hear, it made for a very distinct and fun evening. For this show, the winner was the unreleased fan favorite “Stick Up.” The runner up song was the 2012 hit “Patrolling Days” from the album Lex Hives. With this type of fan participation and engagement, it was a pretty unforgettable evening all around.
Beginning the show with a bang, The Hives opened their set with the 2004 tune “Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones” from the album Tyrannosaurus Hives. While the set was kept mostly simple with a very sleek white sheet and the giant neon sign that read “The Hives,” it was easy to focus on the high intensity rock song that the band began with. There was a person with a camera filming the show and they were running around between each member of the band throughout the entire show. Having a person with a camera that was running all around the set with the members of the band felt like an up-close and personalized fan experience. The theme of the live stream felt like a show literally catered to what the fans would want, and like the best—and they delivered just that!
When they got to the first fan-voted song, “Stick Up,” the fans in the chat were going crazy. Brought out by the Ninja Roadie, almost award show style, Almqvist opened a large envelope and showed the chosen song to the camera. “Stick Up” was written in large bolded letters on the paper. Before opening, Almqvist assured the audience that the band had no idea what song was actually written on the paper. It was a fun touch to the show. It was clear why they voted for this song. With its catchy lyrics and heavy guitar riffs throughout, the fans repeatedly commented “please release the song!!!!!” in the chat. Since the band could see the chat comments, they figured why not try to get The Hives New York City pick released? The comments of “clap clap clap” continued as they played the unreleased favorite.
Moving through the show, Almqvist would often head over to the phone between songs. He would ask callers where they were watching from and talk to them for a few minutes before heading back to the middle of the stage with the rest of his band. One of the callers even requested the song “Tick Tick Boom” (The Black and White Album, 2006) to which Almqvist promised they would play later in the show.
A little more than half way through the exciting evening, the rock band performed the song “Paint A Picture.” The fans were very energetic and pleased with this one, as Almqvist explained that they don’t play it much. It felt like yet another little special treat for everyone watching. Keeping up with the high energy of the evening, Almqvist encouraged the fans to keep clapping along. He would often hold the microphone on the mic stand out towards the camera person as if to hold it to the audience to sing the lyrics to him. At this point, it was obvious that when in person concerts can take place again, The Hives will absolutely be ready to take to the stage once again.
When The Hives played their 2000 hit “Hate To Say I Told You So” from the album Veni Vidi Vicious, that’s when things started to get even more crazy. Other members of the band, such as guitar player Nicholaus Arson, ran around the stage as the rock song went on. Towards the end of the son, Almqvist began swinging the microphone around and around, Arson spun his guitar around his neck, the band members were jumping around and going crazy, but in that rockstar fun way. After they finished the song, Almqvist even addressed the stage madness by confirming that this was “the point in the show where there’s no way back, only forwards!”
To close out the evening, The Hives fulfilled a request by a fan who had called in early on. She had requested that they perform “Tick Tick Boom” (The Black and White Album, 2006), and as promised, they did just that. There was never a moment where the energy in the room dissipated, it stayed just as elevated the entire time. Towards the middle to end of the guitar heavy song, Almqvist introduced the members of his band, Nicholaus Arson (guitar), Vigilante Carlstroem (guitar), The Johan and Only (bass) and Chris Dangerous (drums). He lastly introduced himself and thanked the virtual audience for participating in their one-of-a-kind (and COVID-friendly) evening. After the introductions of each very talented musician in the room, he thanked the audience again and finished out the song.
With a few more moments of jumping around and thanking the fans, The Hives gathered in the middle of the set and took a final bow together. The fans in the chat were commenting over and over with hopes of an encore. Some even commented that they would immediately be using the playback option to experience the fun and extremely entertaining evening all over again from the very beginning. The Hives brought their all tonight, and really gave the fans a fun and interactive show, one that will absolutely be remembered!