Picture this: Woodstock ’69. What do you see? Most likely you’re imagining a sea of hippies swaying to the music, or to the music in their heads at least. Now, picture a concert in this day and age and what do you see? Most likely you’re imagining the same thing, but did you catch all the phones, cameras and pocket digital video cameras connected via death grip to hands and arms? Did you imagine outstretched arms in the air, often obstructing the view of the fans behind them? View obstruction isn’t really my point, more or less this pertains to “enjoyment hindrance” or something like that. Well what’s wrong with this picture? Nothing really. This isn’t a rant about how to be annoying at a concert because you can find a plethora of “Top Ten” lists and blogs dedicated to this sole issue. My rant is leaning more to the behavioral aspect of, “Why?”
I understand these special events might often be once in a lifetime; who knows when your favorite band will be in your town once again, but what happened to going to a concert to live in the moment. What happened to people dancing during live shows? Now we just stand there and record because *GASP* dancing would affect the steadiness of the video! Now we’re all reliving the moment after the fact.
Get this, I recently saw Bruno Mars at Slim’s in San Francisco. The show was awesome. The last time I saw a live performance, it was Black Eyed Peas at Candlestick Park for the Honda Civic Si Test Drive and they are pretty much the best ever live (as long as Fergie doesn’t piss herself). Anyway, at one point Bruno and Phil (his buddy and backup singer, quite the lively guy) asked the audience to snap their fingers to the tune. What happened? At first, nothing. But only because everyone’s hands and fingers were tied up holding their gadgets in the air! After realizing snapping or clapping was demanded, snapping and clapping was heard, but for a good 5 second lag, there was no interaction with the performer. If this were a beatnik party or jazz club, the performer would’ve been doomed! After that happened, I sort of chuckled to myself and here I am ranting.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of it too! I’ve recorded entire concerts with my phone, stopping and resting my tired arms only when the song ended, hitting record fifteen seconds later. Rinse and repeat for 2.5 hours. One female fanatic recording in the front row was “lucky” (to them not me) enough to have Bruno Mars take her camera and sing into it, a faux serenade if you will, you should’ve seen the teenage girls almost THROW their cameras at him after that. I’m not saying everyone didn’t have fun, I’m just saying that in this digital age we often need to remember to unplug. We need to enjoy the music, enjoy life, in the moment. Sure we’re in the age where preservation of memories is fairly easy as opposed to in the good ole days since we can simply snap a picture, record a video to relive the moment over and over again later if we wanted. But how often do we actually play back the video? What happens when your hard drive, phone or camera bites the dust? Will you still be able to recount the night? Will you still remember how much fun you had? Of course you will, granted only if you actually had fun… One of the things my friends and I like to do is talk about moments in the past, funny things that happened, pranks we pulled on each other, stories that start with, “This one time” and what not. Maybe we’re all focused on capturing everything live because we risk someone saying, “Pic or it didn’t happen.” To those forum trolls, I say: “Screw you, I’m here to enjoy myself. I don’t have to prove anything to you!”
Keep on snappin’ people, keep on snappin’ (your fingers, not shutters).
Update: My very stylish and concert apt cousin tweeted me this pic and it pretty much sums up the post. Follow her @kierstenface
In a Nutshell
Oh, and before I forget… I know this concept isn’t new. But it just blew my mind recently… the last concert I went to was years ago. Then, I was recording because everyone else was. Now, in taking a step back, it’s like I’ve swallowed the red pill. I just thought I’d share my thoughts haha