Can Everyone Stop Filming Every Second of a Concert On Their Phone? [OPINION]
It's been a while since my last trip to Hot Take Island, but I feel like I've finally found my "old man that just wants these damn kids off his lawn" hill to die on -- people taking excessive amounts of video on their cell phones at concerts. I want them to stop and I'm going to tell you why.
In 2002, the first cell phones with cameras began hitting the market in the U.S. I didn't get one until around 2004, and I still remember co-workers saying I made too much money (not true -- I was one pack of Ramen Noodles away from poverty). Back then, I was really excited about the idea of using my phone at concerts. I was pissed for years after my LG VX-6000 snapped in half and I lost those 0.3 megapixel (not a typo) pictures of Slash I took from 5 feet away at a 2004 Velvet Revolver concert. Full disclosure -- I still have the phone just in case I figure out how to salvage them.
Back then -- things were much different. There was no YouTube or social media, so if you wanted a memory -- you had to remember it. So doing things like taking a quick video or picture at a concert might help you hold onto those a little longer. In fact, I'm still cool with, and occasionally engage in, both of those behaviors. What I'm not cool with are these jackasses who stand with their phone in front of their face for the entire show, and there are a lot of them.
I suppose if that's how people want to live their life -- that's on them. Should it bother me as much as it does? Probably not. But it's just sad to see all these people, particularly young people, not getting the most out of the experience.
My most recent encounter with this behavior was at Pearl Jam's concert at Wrigley Field. Granted, there are people from all age groups at every concert, but the majority PJ fans generally fall on my side of 30. That's why I was shocked to see so many people, who paid damn good money to see one of the greatest live bands there is, opt to watch them do their thing through a 3-inch screen for large portions or the entirety of the show. As a concert-goer, it bummed me out. As an avid PJ fan, it made me furious.
Let's be honest, phone videos from concerts kind of suck. They haven't made a phone yet that can capture that magical thing that happens when a live band's sound reverberates through your head and your body. That's why you can be at a show and think it sounds amazing, and watch video of it later that sounds like s**t. That phenomenon often has more to do with the audio capabilities of your phone than it does the actual performance. Plus, it's just not the same kind of experience. One of them is thick-cut bacon and the other is tofu bacon.
Another question I ponder after seeing these amateur videographers is "will they ever actually watch these videos?" My gut tells me no, but either way -- it's not worth cheating yourself of the enjoyment of seeing a band with your own eyes and being a part of the analog experience. You can tell me it's possible to do both, but I know for a fact you can't focus on making sure you're consistently getting a good shot of the stage (which means standing kind of still) and also getting the most out of being a part of something like that.
I get it. We're all addicted to our phones, and it's easy to let those magnificent little devices consume your attention sometimes. Just don't do it at the cost of living in the moment. What memory is worth more to you -- that time you cut loose at a concert and had a blast with your friends, or the time you stood motionless getting a mediocre concert video with garbage sound quality instead of just enjoying the experience?
Just do me a favor and acknowledge that's the choice your making before you make it next time, and while doing so, remember that you're not the only one taking video/audio recordings of that show, and the other ones will be both better than yours, and all over the internet tomorrow. Choose wisely, my friends.