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Observations For A Better Live Music Experience Part 1: Living in the Real World

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* This article is written based on generalizations from recent experiences and not aimed at anyone in particular.

There are many things that separate live music today from yesterday . Advancements in technology have improved several aspects to live shows. No doubt we reap the benefits in the capability of sound + vision. Some stage productions by artists such as Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and U2 are nothing short of phenomenal.

This article isn’t to debate big verses the simplicity of shows – those are a matter of taste and an ongoing desire for change.

In recent months, I have been noticing an ongoing trend occurring especially with the larger known tours – an all out prohibition of cell phone use, in particular, the cell phone recording of concerts. I seriously doubt that anyone will be prosecuted for any recording violations but, several music artists have come out strongly against cell phone recording.

* Some major artists who have strongly come against cell phone use at shows: Beyonce, The Lumineers, Wilco, Bruno Mars, Jack White, The Black Crowes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Alicia Keys and the list is continuing to grow.

I have often enjoyed watching a number of such videos taken primarily at smaller intimate shows. The quality of the sound and video is mediocre at best, but I seriously doubt those taking the videos are setting out to become the next award winning director of music video. They are usually attempting to capture a special memory or keepsake on their cell phones to share with a few friends.

SCA_1240Living in the Real World – Christina Christian live at The Julep Room in Ocean Springs, MS

Well known musicians don’t need exposure from cell phone videos but lesser known artists need every possible means to reach a larger audience.

Several issues arise when recording a live video on your cell phone. Is it actually legal and do you have the right to record? Cell phone photographs are one thing, but recording someone else’s works seems to infuriate some artists who may overlook other things.

Those within the press often go through a variety of requests to be able to photograph and are rarely given access to record anything. Violators against policy aren’t treated too kindly.

Recently, I was at a show by a well known musician where several cell phone videographers were asked to stop using their cell phones. A few refused and continued to hold them above their heads in order to record the show. Their conduct was annoying to both the musicians on stage and the fans in attendance. Their cell phones’ bright mega-sized screens were held high obstructing the view of the stage to those behind them. After being asked multiple times, three or four of these Spike Jonze wannabes were escorted off, including one very rude blogger whose comments only made things worse. The flashing of her media badge got her nowhere.

sb5Living in the Real World – Spencer Bohren live at The Listening Room in Mobile, AL

Who knows where they took these cell phone deviants – maybe to a holding cell where they turned the tables and recorded them as payback for their disrespect.

What is happening is a few eager cell phone users are drawing so much debate.

Today, the majority of people practically live on their cell phones. They rarely put their phones down even at live music events. If you look around a venue, nearly a third in attendance are using their cell phones in some manner – regrettably, I’m included (though I am making the needed changes).

Aside from any legal issues (and there are some), my suggestion if you are to use a cell phone to record, use discretion and consideration for the artist and those in attendance.

*Performers may soon be able to utilize higher-tech means of limiting unauthorized videotaping. Apple recently patented a process that would temporarily disable audience members’ iPhone’s cameras, but would allow audience members to bring their mobile devices into a concert venue. (Billboard article 3/17/2017 by Rachel Stilwell, Makenna Cox)

LM1Living in the Real World – Lisa Mills at The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, MS

If even a few people continue disrespecting, it can ruin a number of things for others. A big word in regard to cell phone use of any kind at any live music event is respect.

Sadly, there are those who are just natural born idiots. On an arrival to a recent U2 concert, I was stunned at how disrespectful some fans were toward the band as they graciously signed autographs prior to the show. Cell phones were recording every second while placing them in the musicians’ faces capturing the views of their nostrils and eyebrows. It was a bit ridiculous.

What happened to the pre-cell phone days when concert goers were there entirely (or so it seemed to some of us) for the music? Some of my most cherished live music events are stored deep in my mind and heart. Those memories are lasting and have become a huge part in shaping who I have become.

My advice is after a few songs, put the phone down and live in the moment – a moment in the real world.

johnnyJohnny Cole enjoying a show at Tipitina’s in New Orleans – a moment in the real world.

Click Here for a recent Billboard magazine article on this subject.

Observations For A Better Live Music Experience

Part 2: So You Think You Are Part Of The Show
Click Here for Article

Observations For A Better Live Music Experience
Part 3: Welcoming Traveling Musicians To Our Home
Click Here for Article

© The Southland Music Line. 2017. All rights reserved

©The Southland Music Line


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