The moment you’ve been waiting for all night is here. The band you’ve come to see is about to perform your favorite song. Just as you recognize the tune and feel that rush of pure joy that can only come from seeing it performed live, the moment is ruined when half the audience throws up their arms and obstructs your view with their giant glowing screens.
Why anyone would rather pull themselves out of the moment to record it, and reduce their viewing experience to that of a tiny screen, will always dumbfound me. It’s time we put an end to this madness and shift our priorities from capturing the moment to really experiencing it.
What are you going to do with all this footage anyway? Share it on Instagram and Snapchat to validate how cool you are? Upload it to your YouTube channel? What could be possibly cooler than completely immersing yourself in live performances of the songs you know by heart, or more rewarding than experiencing this fleeting moment as it is happening? Why fragment your memories by trying to capture something transient?
I understand that it’s a night you want to remember and I’m not saying I’ve never taken a picture at a concert, but don’t be that asshole who insists on filming the entire performance with their iPad. If you absolutely have to capture it, be discrete, get your shot and put the device away. If not for yourself or the people around you, do it out of respect for the musicians.
I’m not the only one who shares this sentiment. As more artists grow tired of looking out into a sea of fans staring into their devices, many have opted to ban fan-recording entirely. Prince goes as far as posting the “Purple Rules” at his shows stating “No photography. No video recording. No cell phone. These rules will be strictly enforced and violators will be asked to access another experience.”
I dare you to keep these moments just for yourself. I dare you to take a deep breath and soak it all in. Aren’t you there because the music moved you in some way? Let it fulfill its intention.
The instant gratification from that social media brag will fade and chances are you’ll only watch the videos you’ve recorded a few times before they’re doomed to be another digitized ‘memory’ taking up space in your camera roll. Next time, before you habitually reach for your phone, bring yourself into the moment. Feel the energy of the room. Meditate on the lyrics. Really watch the performance that these musicians have dedicated their lives to bring you.
C’mon, I dare you. Get off your phone and live!