Artists set tour dates after COVID-19


Banton Ward (12) wears a sweatshirt with the words Live Music is Back. Photo by Julia Coats

Julia Coats, Staff Writer

When the world shut down in 2020, concerts and tours were canceled due to the risk of spreading COVID-19. In 2023, many artists have announced future tour dates amid venues opening for shows for the first time in two years. 

Although the new year brought tours and concert dates for Oklahoma, many artists were unable to perform in 2020. Canceled shows as a result of Covid-19 included Cher, Michael Buble, and Carrie Underwood were all set to perform at the Paycom arena in the spring of 2020. In Tulsa, KISS was unable to perform their show at the BOK Center. The Zoo Amphitheater postponed Willie Nelson and Family until the summer of 2022. 

However, concert venues have been opening their doors for artists to perform. Different concert venues did not shut down together, so the rate of venues opening has been different around the country. There have been a few shows in the metro, but the numerous announcements of tour dates that include Oklahoma will be the most in three years. 

Some of the artists who have announced a 2023 tour include: Coldplay, Harry Styles, Lizzo, SZA, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd. The Paycom Arena will be hosting Blake Shelton, Stevie Nicks and Kenny Chesney. The BOK Center in Tulsa will be hosting the Turnpike Troubadours, Koe Wetzel, Kane Brown, Lizzo, Shania Twain, Madonna and Zach Bryan. The Criterion will also be hosting Flatland Cavalry, Hippie Sabotage and Riley Green. The Tower Theatre is a smaller venue on 23rd street and will also be hosting 49 Winchester and Watchouse. Finally, Sofi Tukker will be performing at the Jones Assembly. 

Oklahoma City and the metropolitan area is not necessarily known for being a music city, but we do have a wide variety of venues and sizes. From the Beer City Music Hall that holds 500 people to the BOK Center that holds over 19,000, Oklahoma venues are opening their doors to artists this year. 

Concerts are not the only thing returning to Oklahoma this year. Upcoming events around the state include Monster Jam, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Cirque du Soleil. Thunder Games have resumed as well the Oklahoma City Blue and the Tulsa Oilers Hockey team. 

My favorite venue in Oklahoma City for concerts is the Criterion. This venue can hold around 4,000 people and has an option for upper deck seating. There is not a bad seat in the house due the Criterion having a large open space facing a large stage. Flatland Cavalry is one of my favorite bands and is set to perform here in June of 2023. I also plan on seeing 49 Winchester and Watchouse this spring at the Beer City Music Hall. 

Before Covid, I saw Juice Wrld at the Criterion and Twenty One Pilots at the Paycom. Since then, I have seen Cody Johnson and Kendrick Lamar at the Paycom. The difference Covid brought to the concerts was notable. Previously, there was little spacial awareness and I personally was not worried about being too close to someone next to me. However, I was conscious of keeping my distance as best I could due to a slight fear of spreading or contracting Covid. Concerts have always been one of my favorite events to attend with either family or friends, so the announcements of tours and artists coming is exciting.