After weeks of hyping it up, The Pokemon Company hosted a virtual Post Malone concert to celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary.
It’s been a kind of emotional Pokemon Day, as the industry and community celebrated a quarter of a century of Pikachu and friends. So as cheesy as it was, I was exactly in the right emotional spot to watch Austin Post float about the Pokemon world and sing to me. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m a pretty big fan of his music, myself. So you’re speaking my language if you put the two together. And while I did find myself a little misty-eyed as I saw a CG recreation of the R&B singer traveling all around one of my favorite settings in video games, not every note hit me the same way.
Let’s start with the good. I adored the guided tour of the Pokemon world as Posty himself danced and sang on a moving platform. From the beautiful forests filled with gorgeous fluorescent lighting provided by Shiinotic swaying along to “Circles,” the open field as Rapidash galloped below, and watching Gyarados leap over Mr. Post as he sang the word “sex” on Nintendo-sanctioned livestream. It was honestly joyful in moments. Yeah, maybe I’m in a nostalgic mood. But aren’t we all today? And I even really liked the digital recreation of our musical act.
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Where it got weird was in the actual performance. It seemed to be a combination of an actual live performance and at least one studio recording. It sounded like Post Malone’s cover of Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Wanna Be With You” was a simple plug in of the studio version available on streaming services now. But when it came to performing his original songs, it sounded like man was doing it live. And anyone who has been to a live show or watched recordings of them know that’s a little risky for a few reasons.
Straight up, Posty’s vocals on show opener “Psycho” and show closer “Congratulations” were a bit rough. And this was only accentuated by the (valid) need to edit the lyrics. Not with new ones but just by not saying anything at all. It was something I’d been wondering about leading up to the show, as most of Post Malone’s songs aren’t exactly family friendly. Which doesn’t mean kids don’t listen to them, but it of course raises questions about what the actual content of the show was going to be. Didn’t stop him from singing his hits. But it did make the whole thing feel a little bit silly sometimes.
And honestly, Posty’s vocals were probably mostly fine. Or would have been in an actual live setting. Even the greatest singers don’t always benefit from what is a dry feed of their singing. Part of what makes live audio work is the acoustics of the venue. Singing that bounces off the walls and fills the room will always be more effective than someone singing straight into a mic. So when Post Malone is out here really feeling it like a live setting, complete with hyping up the non-existent crowd, it’s only natural the recording wouldn’t be the most flattering.
Occasional quirks aside, I was having a good time watching the show, and was honestly a little sad when it turned out to be only a short 13-minute concert. It does make me wonder what form this celebration could have taken in a time where live music was still a thing. But everyone involved working with what they had led to a lovely visual tribute to the Pokemon world, and a pretty decent overall concert.
I’m excited to see what other musical tributes we hear as Pokemon’s 25th anniversary celebration continues.