Gadgets at Gigs: Living Live or Phoning It In?

I was lucky enough to have a very exciting week last week. Three concerts in four days, starting with a “red-headed yeti with multiple arms” that goes by the name of Newton Faulkner, then my favourite band, Counting Crows and finishing up with amazing young talent, Birdy. All concerts were amazing; I didn’t want any if them to end. On Monday morning, a co-worker said he wanted to see Birdy live again before he even said hello. It was a very good week.

Yet, something lingers… something I can’t quite understand and I don’t know if it’s because I am “old” or not “cool”: why did everyone watch the concerts through their phones?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand it’s actually exciting tagging or checking-in. I did check-in to all three concerts on Facebook and I’m only mildly ashamed. The thing is though, I did it before the concert started, and I didn’t film the entire thing.

I can already hear you say it. “Ugh, they didn’t film the whole thing surely!”

Oh, they did. One woman even went through her old holiday snaps and started deleting them so that she could film even more of Birdy. While she looked down and sorted through those pictures she was missing the concert. But she has some of it forever, so does that cancel itself out?

I hope not, because it’s annoying for everyone else!

Counting Crows is my favourite band ever. I cried in utter despair back in 2003 when they cancelled their Sydney concert one day beforehand. The universe was obviously against me and it was devastating to my 15-year-old self. I was cut for quite some time. So when the 50-something guy in front of me was “recording” (I’ll get into that soon) with his phone held up in front of him, I was getting frustrated. It’s hard for your eyes to not be drawn to the glowing lights in front of you, but it’s also hard to not laugh at the guy who thought he recorded the entire concert but was actually just watching it through the camera live view. Yep, he was “recording” but wasn’t recording. When he wanted to stop, he hit the “take photo” button and took a photo with a flash each time, then went looking for the video, never found it and just attached the photo to an email and sent it to someone. Then started “recording” again.

Even though Counting Crows were streaming the entire concert live on YouTube and his wife yelled at him a couple of times, he persisted. Let’s just say I didn’t feel bad that he didn’t know how to use an iPhone.

The best example of this is the announcement of Pope Francis’ succession this year. Only 8 years before, everyone just watched with their eyes. Suddenly, this year all the phones are out. It never happened if it isn’t on Facebook, after all!

People are also having to ask guests on their wedding invitations that, during the ceremony and reception, to please refrain from taking their own photos. Why? They pop up suddenly in front of the professional photographer (who is being paid well into the thousands for the day.)

I thought it was just me who got annoyed, but after Birdy there were several people who piped up saying they wanted to ask the people in front of them to put their phones away. The demographic was much younger because of the support acts, so young girls through the whole show had phones up. One support act took a panoramic of the audience to put on Instagram, then afterwards phones went up to take a photo of him after taking the photo! Isn’t the ticket stub enough of a memory?

I don’t know why people do it, especially when the photos end up like they do to the right, a big ball of blurry light. I don’t remember any more of that concert because of that photo. So if you are at any sort of show, treat it like being at the cinema: once the lights go down, put your phone on silent and do not touch it. It shouldn’t need to be said. Should it?

What are your live event gripes? Do people taking snaps on their phones make you want to snap their fingers? Have you ever wanted to strangle someone talking in the middle of a set? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below.



Filed under Music Matters, Ruby Views

3 responses to “Gadgets at Gigs: Living Live or Phoning It In?

  1. I like calling friends in concerts if a song I know they love is played, I never know if they’ve answered or I’m leaving them a very strange voice message.

    • Hehe. My main gripe is the consistency of it throughout the entire show. A quick message, phone call or picture is perfectly fine! 🙂 But the people I mentioned were actually living the evening through their phones the entire time, it’s odd.

  2. I don’t mind Miranda’s suggestion of ringing a person for a song (you can manage that without waving your phone in someone’s face), but having phones out at live events irks me something shocking. Definitely one of my pet hates.

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