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The Great Debate: Smartphones and Rock Shows, What's Good?

I am in the minority here.  Years ago Billie Joe Armstrong barked  “BE IN THE MOMENT!  PUT DOWN YOUR PHONES!  YOU’RE AT A ROCK’N’ROLL SHOW.”   Remember that?  Well, yeah phones are out of control.  I have encountered watching an act through someone else’s viewfinder just by sheer site line but hey… life goes on.  My theory is if the ‘showman’ was putting on a show that was engaging I wouldn’t need to be fucking around on my phone- right?

I will say in the past 4 years I have not been to a gig where I have not sent at least one text to my co-editor or forwarded an email or checked Twitter of Facebook and I am not ashamed of it in the slightest.  I am a multi tasker, this is what I do.  I Tweet so you can see the gig in real time, I Facebook now and then for a laugh.   But again, if you cannot capture my attention with your stage antics, too bad, try harder.  We listen with our ears, I paid the fee, I wont be told what to do.

The arrogant Yeah Yeah Yeah’s threw down their rules most recently and well there is even more press on the issue.

The National Post mentions this about the recent “secret” Stones show in LA: Cameras and smartphones weren’t allowed inside the Echoplex, which usually plays host to hipster bands and mash-up dance parties. The lack of personal recording devices made the Stones’ performance feel even more exclusive and old school, freeing concertgoers’ hands of the gizmos that have become commonplace at concerts nowadays, and further bonding the crowd, many of whom built up camaraderie during the confusing ticket lottery earlier in the day.”

That has to be one of the worse quotes ever.  Old school because they ARE old school.  I am not sure what to make of all of this.  You’ll have to pry my phone out of my cold dead hand that’s for sure.  Jack White got pissy at Radio City for people using cells at his gig, yet the Twitter feed was alive and well.  Again, if your show was engaging enough, no one would want to do anything but watch you.  Great case in point was my last viewing of Morrissey at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY.  The show was so incredibly engaging, his stage presences so ‘in the moment’ that really I don’t think there was that much usage.  Then again my last hardcore gig everyone who wasn’t in the pit was bathed in phone light. Why? Cuz there is nothing to see.

People have paid a fortune and want to prove they’re there (cell pix, twitter, FB) and if they’re not interested in looking at a stage or more likely cant see anyway due to crappy venue set up, tall people and over crowded general admission, shut the hell up and let them do what they want.  To those up on the stage, try being entertainers instead of human jukeboxes and maybe the trend would end.

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