“Saudade Rolls”. That was the name of the show by the group Pixote, held last Saturday night (24). One of the main venues in the city, Tom Brasil, in the south of São Paulo, hosted its first event after the loosening of restrictions by the city due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
São Paulo is in the transition phase, with the release of events with up to 60% of the venue’s capacity and the closing of activities at 11 pm. According to the latest bulletin from the city hall, 6.9 million people have already been vaccinated, almost 80% of the population over 18 years old, which reduced the number of serious hospitalizations – the occupation of ICUs today is at 44%.
It is in this context that the shows take place again in the city with the largest number of inhabitants in Brazil.
What will such an event be like with the “new normal” reigning? Splash followed everything to understand what we can expect from the return of the shows in the city.
The report arrived at the venue around 18:00, 1:00 before the opening of the venue. In addition to employees from nearby parking lots and Tom Brasil himself, only retired Vanice Aparecida Simeone, 69, was around.
Vanice has had a mini-van selling drinks and hot dogs in front of the venue for eight years.
“We stopped in March 2020 and it was a shock. I only work here, in this place. I had to sell all the groceries, everything I had here. I have my pension and supplement the income here. I was very apprehensive about this return.” says the seller, who took the first dose of the vaccine.
As the hours passed, other vendors arrived and greeted their friend, recalling the difficulties of the pandemic times and sharing how each one managed the way they could.
Now, the hope was for a return to the show schedule.
It’s still very uncertain, even for us. We don’t know how the audience will behave, the only certainty is that things have changed.
If before the pandemic the traffic of cars and people queuing up for drinks and hot dogs was common, the area close to the nightclub was deserted until around 7pm. There were no ticket sales in the place and the public was arriving very little by little.
Before entering the lobby of the house, there was a totem for temperature measurement and the use of alcohol gel. Entrance was only allowed with the use of a mask—outside, the vital item was not worn by everyone.
Splash witnessed a group arriving without a mask and receiving some units from the organization of the event.
“Did you really think you were going in without a mask?” said the producer. It looked like a sign of things to come.
Tom Brasil has 6,000 m2 of indoor area. In a concert with a dance floor, where people are allowed to stand, the house has a capacity of 4.1 thousand people. In events with tables and chairs, as in the case of the Pixote show, the venue holds 2,500 people seated.
For the Saturday show, the house has reduced its capacity to 40%. The distance between the tables was 1.5 meters. We couldn’t measure it exactly, but the impression was that the distance was followed to the letter.
The cheapest ticket cost R$90. Each table had space for two or four chairs, as well as cabins for six people. The recommendation was to restrict tables or cabins to people from the same family or social life.
To comply with the government’s determination to close the house at 11:00 pm, the show began at 9:10 pm. Even at a pagoda event, the public’s discipline in remaining seated drew attention. The audience resisted almost to the end.
The discipline was not replicated in the use of the mask. What seemed nonsense before proved unfeasible in practice. As soon as they passed the lobby and sat down at tables, a good part of the public abandoned the accessory. At one point, I looked around and had the impression that I was the only one present to follow such an important protocol.
“When they sit at tables, as there is consumption, people can remove their masks, as in any bar and restaurant. In this way, valuing the safety of our audience, we take extra care, giving even more distance between tables than health agencies guide,” he said Christian Tedesco, vice president of Grupo Tom Brasil.
In the third song, Dodô, the group’s vocalist, suggested to those present who couldn’t sing Pixote’s songs that they, at least, move their mouths to pretend they knew the compositions.
It was the certainty that the advent of the mask was in the imagination of the past.
The inspection was also not the most intense. Before starting the show, an institutional video was shown on the screens to the public, detailing the house’s work in cleaning up the large space. It remained to ask the public to use the most important individual item for containing the virus indoors.
After the show, Splash talked with the infectologist and consultant of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases Wladimir Queiroz about the health protocols. He reinforced that zero risk is a utopia that must always be pursued.
The cleaning of surfaces is important, yes, but the use of a mask is essential at all times. These label rules, especially indoors, are still very important. The public cannot confuse flexibilization with general liberation.
Wladimir Queiroz, infectious disease
“We are seeing a decrease, especially in severe cases, vaccination is a big step. Zero risk at this time is an unattainable goal, but we have to follow the rules to try to get as close as possible to that goal.”
The new normal is a reality
The advance of vaccination does seem to have created an impression that the pandemic is nearing its end — variants like Delta, however, indicate that the situation is not quite like that.
For those who were present at Tom Brasil on Saturday, the ecstasy of being able to sing, at the top of their lungs, their favorite songs, even without being able to samba like there was no tomorrow, was a way of remembering times that will never come back. The new normal is already a reality.
As the show progressed and the consumption of alcohol increased at the tables, people began to lose even more attention to sanitary rules and to shout more and more loudly about the successes of the pagode group. Until the song that ended the show “Saudade Arregaça”.
It was at this moment that almost everyone in the front rows stood up, sang, sambaram, gathered in front of the stage. Anyway, they made the party that every pagoda show deserves. Perhaps not these days.
Mostly, the age group of the public was in the 30s or more, therefore, within the cut-off age for vaccines. Whoever wished, could have already taken the first dose, according to the parameters of the city of São Paulo.
This was the case of the couple Wesley Venceslau, 37, and Sueli Mafra, 40. Fans of Pixote, the two say they didn’t even remember the last event they went to. The certainty was that it happened in a pre-pandemic moment. The security to leave the house was due to the conditions of the place and advanced vaccination.
“Things are evolving, vaccination is advancing. I had no confidence to leave the house. With the first dose, even though I was not 100% immunized, I felt I could leave, with a mask and alcohol gel, of course.”
At the end of the show, the two still passed by Vanice’s cart. And they said the experience, in their view, was great.