Cell Phones At Concert: I Hope You Realize This is War

Written by | July 12, 2013 0:07 am | No Comments














For the longest time I really really felt that the fight between cell phones being used at concerts and those who don’t want them used was a battle between near equals. I supported my side, the cell phoners, whole heartedly, but the concert givers saying, hey we want you to look at us, concentrate on us, or, as Cyndi Lauper put it, “to be here now” might have some validation somewhere. But honestly, it has zero, none whatsoever.

In effect, the artists are saying that if you go to a concert you have to watch the show and not be distracted by cell phones. But if it is true of cell phones it must be true of everything. Why is the cell phone the only distraction that annoys the artist. I would guess the reason they are so upset about cell phones is because they don’t want us getting pictures of them without some form of surtax. As though a facility fee isn’t enough and they were scared we are getting something for nothing.

But let’s take them at their word and say, OK, they only have the best intentions: they are upset that we aren’t sharing in the experience because we are seeing it on a cell phone.

OK, here are some worst distractions.

1. Festivals where you are so far away you can’t see the close circuit TVs let alone the artists themselves. Why doesn’t She And Him only play places people can see them?

2. The sale of alcoholic beverages and wholesale use of hard drugs – that would surely stop us from being here now.

3. Friends talking, very loudly, throughout the entire show?

4. Artists who go on stage so late that the audience can’t actually see anything at all.

Really, if this war against audience members who take photographs has any validity, why is it only valid in search a narrow manner. Seeing Lauper from the upper balcony Wednesday, I had no idea whether she looked her age or indeed was a woman at all. I spent $50 for a 5,000 seater ticket and still couldn’t see anything. Frankly, I am sick of getting hassled and hustled by Live nation, Ticketmaster and their clients. Outrageous prizes for terrible seats and if that isn’t bad enough, why not add insult to injury by threatening to throw me out for taking a damn picture.

This is the wrong war for musicians because it is an unwinnable war. The technology is gonna kill em and the fans want it and should be allowed to have it without an ongoing and pitched battle. And it is getting nasty out there.  I was at a half empty Apollo Theater for Boz Scaggs with nobody with three rows of me, and a security buffoon advised me I would be evicted next time I took my cell out. The show had literally just started.

I, of course, waited ten minutes and then went back to taking pictures, but that isn’t the point. The point is the threatening and stupid battles going on between audience members and Security at concert venues. Fans who are paying a fortune to see a show are being made into criminals. I once had a fight with a friend of mine in which I claimed that any law that everybody ignored was by definition a bad law.  He counter claimed that everybody ignored double parking and that was a good law. I conceded it, but only to a point. As a rule of thumb, most people don’t double park.

Anyway, the anti-cell phone battles are unwinnable from the standpoint of the concert venues so why are they fighting them. And meanwhile, the artists are making fools of themselves. And the fans? Criminals all of us.


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