Sunday, June 16, 2013

Stop Blocking My View With Your Phone

It’s been almost a month since the Stones played the Staples Center, and it’s only now that I am able to reflect upon my experience. What a truly amazing show! It was worth every penny. Although I haven’t been around since the beginning of their career, over 50 years ago, I have quite a few Stones concerts under my belt and can honestly say that they are currently at their best. Yet, I've been hesitant to write about the concert since there are already so many reviews out there. Is there anything that I could actually add to the conversation?

I am left with one nagging regret. I made a huge mistake when I bought floor seats to a concert that I had been waiting years to see. If you’re over 6-feet tall, the floor location might be a desirable one. I, however, had to stand on my tippy toes the entire time and peek around, in between and over the shoulders of the more statuesque fans. Once in a while, I snuck up front into the aisle and had a direct view of Jagger or Richards strutting around the stage before I was swept back to my seat by the Gestapo-like security guards at the Staples Center.

I've had floor seats in the past and have always been able to see between the people in front of me. This time was different because everybody had their damn cell phones held out, up in the air, as they recorded parts, if not all, of the concert. Nearly half of the audience viewed the entire concert through the tiny screens of their phones. As they angled for the best shot, I had to rapidly maneuver to peer through jutted elbows and poke my head underneath armpits. At times it seemed as if I was trapped behind a solid wall of towering bodies.

Will somebody please explain why a person would view a concert through a cell phone. Why is it better to experience the concert second hand rather than seeing it with their own naked eyeballs? I don’t get it. Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie were right there, live and in person. And, if you wanted to watch it on screen, there was a giant video display behind the band, showing a real-time edited version of the live concert.

Comedian Louis CK witnessed the same phenomenon at his daughter’s dance recital and urged parents not to block their own children out with their smart phones: “The resolution on [your] kid is unbelievable. It’s totally HD.” The Stones were merely a few feet away from some people, yet they chose to hold up phones in front of their faces and record movies that they think other people want to see. I've watched these amateur clips shared on Facebook and tweeted by enthusiastic fans. Frankly, they’re less than stunning and are not at all an accurate representation of the live concert experience. This is not how I want to see or remember the Stones, two inches tall, blurry with inaudible sound

Perhaps these fans think that their recordings will be the only way to see the Stones over and over again. I wouldn't worry though. If I know the Rolling Stones, and I think I do, the 50 and Counting Tour will soon be available on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download for purchase at an outlet near you.