If you know me, you know I have a concert addiction. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t have one lined up. I plan my days around what times tickets go on sale, and just recently I waited in line for 8 hours to get to the front of the pit. They’re my favorite form of entertainment.
It’s safe to say, then, that I know a few secrets to success when it comes to having the best concert experience. What’s my number one tip? At the risk of sounding like a cranky old man, here’s what I have to say: Put your damn phones down.
I have a limitless stock of stories wherein a killer concert was completely ruined by the moron with the Snapchat camera open in front of me for half of the set. I did not spend half of my bank account and waste half of my day in line to watch my favorite artist through your 3-viewer Instagram live.
And on that note, no one is watching your 2-hour long story with the worst camera and lighting direction since the second Alien vs. Predator movie (trust me, that means it’s bad). They’re tapping past it as fast as they can. Nor are they liking your blurry picture from the top row because they think it’s a good picture. They’re doing it out of obligation because they feel sorry that you felt the need to clog their feed with such a thing.
Not only is it content that nobody needs, think about the poor sap behind you. The last thing they want is to not only stand behind your obnoxious self, but to have to stare into your cracked, smudgy phone screen. All they want is to see Phoebe Bridgers smash her guitar after “I Know the End,” not a “Storage almost full” notification.
And I will admit, readers, I used to be extremely guilty of this. Whoever was behind me at that Gerard Way show at First Avenue in 2015 probably wants me dead, but I thought it would all be for naught if I didn’t get his entire set on camera. Even with the bounty of live music experiences I had on my phone at the time, I came to a shocking realization that made me stop the habit entirely: I didn’t watch the videos even once. Because they sucked. And if I had to guess, you don’t watch yours either. Because they suck.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Concerts should be about experiencing the moment; enjoying the artists and songs you love with other people who love them. Sing along, wave your hands, open a mosh, crowd surf, do whatever you want, so long as it’s not negatively affecting the experience of those around you.
Put the damn phone back in your pocket for two hours. I promise “Mr. Brightside” sounds way better on Spotify than it does on your camera roll.